Waterproof Clothing For Horse Riders Explained  

We know that searching for waterproof clothing for horse riding can be a minefield. In this blog, we explain what waterproof means, the different levels of waterproofness and how breathability can play a crucial role in your waterproof riding jacket or waterproof riding trousers.

What is Waterproof Riding Clothing?

Waterproof fabrics usually have a coating or membrane that will act as a barrier against water penetration. They help prevent the damp seeping through and keep you dry and comfortable. 
Equetech Waterproof Coats use a membrane AND a coating which acts as a dual barrier, helping to prevent moisture from permeating the fabric and keeping you comfortable and dry in and out of the saddle. Waterproof membranes adhere to the back of the material and determine the waterproof rating, whilst the DWR (durable water-repellent) coating allows the water to run off the garment and creates a beading effect of water when it comes into contact with the outer fabric.
They come in different waterproof ratings, and most waterproof riding clothes designed for horse riding will have an element of breathability incorporated with their durable water-repellent properties. Breathable fabrics allow sweat to escape from the inside of your waterproof clothing to the outside to keep you comfortable.

Although waterproof fabrics such as wax or rubber can be fully waterproof, activewear, including those designed for horse riders, will have varying degrees of water resistance; all of which will leak with enough water, pressure and wear and tear.

Just as you have to re-proof your favourite wax jacket to restore the wax coating and, therefore, its waterproof qualities, looking after your breathable and waterproof coat and washing it in Nikwax is essential to extending the life of your equestrian jackets. Understanding the compromise you make when balancing your waterproof rating with the breathability rating is equally as important to remember, as we explain;

Waterproof Ratings And Why They Matter

Waterproof ratings are important when looking at a well-made, protective, waterproof jacket. Just because a manufacturer says your heavyweight coat is waterproof, it may not mean it is protective against the worst winter weather because it may feature a lower waterproof rating. We are very transparent about our waterproof ratings for our riding outerwear. 
Make sure when you find a fabulous jacket that you check the waterproof rating. Even if it just says 'showerproof' on the tag, you want to check that it has the minimum rating of 5,000mm, which will, even then, only protect you against a very light brief shower.

Breathability Ratings And Why They Matter

As horse riders, we know that yard duties and riding all have to be performed outdoors, whatever the weather, but choosing a waterproof garment with the right level of breathability is very important for performance. Not only do you want to stay dry and comfortable on the outside but also the inside. It's important to note that some fabrics may be more waterproof and others more breathable to allow for the level of activity you are wearing the garment for. 
Choosing a coat with the correct waterproof and breathable ratings can be complicated so do your research to find waterproof riding wear that works for you. For example, look for summer coats and summer riding jackets with a much higher level of breathability to accommodate light showers but favour riding in warmer temperatures. An ultra-light rain jacket might have high waterproof ratings, but how does its breathable rating fair?
A Quick Reference Guide To Breathability Ratings:

• 5,000 – 10,000g/m²: This level of breathability is satisfactory for light exercise.
• 10,000 – 15,000g/m²: Riding garments in this range are suited to more vigorous exercise.
• 15,000 – 20,000g/m² & above: These garments are more suited to extended periods of exercise. If you're working hard and sweating heavily, you will most likely require a coat of this level.
Caring For Your Breathable, Waterproof Clothing

Unfortunately, riding and caring for our horses in all weather conditions means that our riding clothing naturally gets dusty, muddy and mucky! If your equestrian jacket becomes dirty and the dirt becomes engrained, it can stop the DWR coating from working and doing its job of allowing the water to sit on the fabric. If the DWR coatings are compromised when you ride or work in wet weather with heavier rainfall, it can gradually push the water through the membrane.
If you wear your coats like we do every day at the yard to turn the horses out, muck out and ride in, you can help prolong the life of your equestrian jackets and coats by sponging off patches of visible mud and dirt from the outer material. When you do wash your coat, follow the care instructions and wash with a technical waterproofing product designed to enhance the water repellency and revitalise the breathability of your wet weather clothing.

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