Fundamentally staying comfortable, warm and dry, whilst riding and doing yard duties in our British climate, is at the top of our list of priorities for most horse riders heading into Autumn and winter! We discuss top tips with British Equestrian Brand designer, Liz Hayman.
"It is simple, but many of us get it wrong!
If you’re heading to the yard, waterproof gear is essential, especially in the UK. Whether you are training or competing, outdoor weather can be unpredictable!
Waterproof and breathable fabrics will keep you dry and comfortable, which we can all agree is pretty important in horse riding. With this in mind, we have created a comprehensive guide on waterproof versus water-resistant, as well on tips to keep you warm in winter months…
So, here is everything you need to know about waterproofing and breathability.
Waterproof fabric simply means, that fabric is resistant to water penetration. This is usually a membrane layer between fabrics, or a coating that acts as a barrier, preventing water from leaking through the fabric, keeping you dry and comfortable. If the fabric is also breathable, the fabric allows sweat in the form of water vapour to escape from the inside, to the outside. This usually means the fabric is not completely waterproof, as it allows moisture to escape. There is always a pay-off unfortunately.
If the fabric is water resistant, instead of waterproof, it will resist water to a level, but these are usually breathable fabrics, that in heavier conditions will let through water. Before buying a waterproof or water-resistant jacket, consider the activity you want to do. If it’s likely that you need it at your most active, perhaps go with a breathable, less waterproof jacket or coat. If you are training on the ground, in heavy rain, not really moving around, opt for a higher waterproof rating. Visit our Coats & Jackets category for our complete collection. WHAT DO THE MM NUMBERS MEAN?
Usually, as a rule of thumb, the higher the mm rating, the more waterproof the fabric. Waterproof ratings are normally measured in millimetres. To test the fabric, as the material starts leaking water, the height is measured, and used to calculate the waterproof rating. This is given a number in mm.
We have given a guide below, to give you a rough idea of waterproof/ resistant levels. Usually jackets with the highest ratings, are the most expensive, but not always the case.
Rating Description 2K/2,000mm Light rain, dry snow, no pressure. 5K/5,000mm Light rain, average snow, light pressure. 10K/10,0000mm Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure. 20K/20,000mm Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure.
Now you have your wet weather gear sorted, here are our top tips - from head to toe - on how to take out the suffering, and protect you from the elements this winter.
DON’T SWEAT IT! Make sure your layers have openings, at least at the neck, zips are great for ease of use. If you start doing more rigorous exercise, taking hats and gloves on and off, will help you keep the sweat at bay. If you know you’re going to really work hard then take a second base layer top with you and switch tops, keeping you comfortable. You may wish to wear a lightweight outer layer on its own, on milder days and put a gilet underneath, if I want more freedom and cooling on my arms, such as when mucking out, etc.
FEET ARE YOUR FRIENDS! If your feet are warm, you will be! Look after your feet and they will look after you! There is nothing worse than cold feet, making you miserable and you lose feeling when riding. Try and wear a sock with a wool content. The wool regulates your temperature, for both heat and cold. Our winter socks are designed for riding and yard duties, so there is no excuse to have cold feet again!
LAYERING THE LEGS! Layering is great, and really keeps us warm, but many of us forget our legs! Choose a base layer to wear under your favourite breeches or riding tights, to utilise your legwear throughout the year. You must remember to wear a stirrup style thermal, or you will end up with them, half way up your legs! We make two options, depending on your preference to fabrics against the skin. Our thermals, are great and the cotton thermal underbreeches, feature a fleece panel to the thighs, eradicating chill blains, whereas our Extreme Thermal Underbreeches are made from a wicking polyester, but fleece lined all the way though, for a lovely cosy feeling!
DON’T FORGET YOUR EARS!
On those crisp winter morning rides, if you are anything like me, it chills you to the bone when the winds whistle straight through your ears. Snoods, and scarves are great for the most part, but sometimes extreme action is needed, to stop us from becoming fair weather riders! The Riding Hat Thermal Liner neatly sits under your hat and the fleece panel neatly covers your ears and neck to protect you from the elements!"
As much as the weather can be a pain, we hope this guide has been helpful in protecting you, the horse rider, in the elements! Still have questions? Please give our customer care team a call at +44 (0) 1296 688 966 or email our Customer Services Team. They can help you find the right attire to fit your needs.