Pleasurehorse.com Is Into: Winter Weather Gear
Contributed by Melinda Davison
All in one weekend, Halloween has ended, and we’ve set our clocks back an hour. Whether the crisp chill in the air excites you or makes you long for the balmy days of summer, there is no denying that winter is right around the corner. While many non-horse people can relax the weather away next to a fire with a warm beverage, those who live their lives around horses know our lifestyle requires a lot of time outdoors come hot or cold, rain or shine, snow, ice, or sleet. In order to make the long winter a little more bearable, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite products (some old reliables and some are new to the 2014 winter scene) to keep you and your horses as cozy as possible.
SmartPak + Under Armour
Long been one of the favorite brands of athletes worldwide, Under Armour has recently teamed up with supplement, tack, and supplies superpower SmartPak to bring you their new line of rider-friendly garments. One product that caught our eye was the new Under Armour Infrared Full Line Zip Jacket (pictured at left). Not only is this great jacket lightweight and fitted to provide excellent layering possibilities, but it can also stand alone as a jacket. Under Armour’s ColdGear technology uses ceramic material that absorbs and holds your body heat, keeping you warm for hours, in addition to having water resistant Under Armour Storm outer fabric. This is just the kind of thing that is perfect for working horses or just general barn work.
For the full line of Under Armour products available at SmartPak, click here.
Back On Track Riding/Outdoor Gloves
We all know that our extremities are one of the first places we really begin to feel the frigid weather. However, it is often a catch-22 since thick gloves provide heat and insulation, but are often too bulky to feel the reins when we ride or doing barn chores. Enter Back On Track’s Riding/Outdoor Gloves, which use your own body heat via their Welltex fabric to not only keep your hands nice and toasty, but also soothe away arthritis pain that the cold weather tends to make even worse. Bonus: they’re thin enough to still feel everything at your fingertips.
For your equine friends, they have their Therapeutic Fleece Horse Blanket, which uses the same Welltex fabric technology to not only keep your horses back muscles warm and loose, but also dry your horse quickly after a ride. The infrared warmth is created by your horse’s natural body heat and retained by the ceramic powder infused in the blanket’s fabric. This fleece blanket comes with chest buckles and belly surcingles allowing it to be worn alone or as a liner.
Insta Hot- Portable Equine Washing System
While we are certainly not going to be bathing horses in sub-freezing temperatures, there are times where hot water is necessary and some of our barns are not equipped with a permanent water heater on site. Insta Hot (which can be found at Schneider’s) is the leading brand of portable water heaters found in barns across the country. The set-up is easy, no outlet is required, and it’s portable on its handy little cart allowing you to use it anywhere in your barn or even at a show. Need hot water to soak a foot or make a poultice? No problem. Need to de-ice buckets or create a bran mash? Done.
5 Gallon Flatback Heated Water Bucket
Speaking of frozen water buckets… One of the biggest concerns for horse owners during the winter months is horses not drinking enough water. This can be due to a myriad of factors, but mostly commonly due to reduced feelings of thirst in the cold weather, and lack of access to water from frozen water buckets. Those residents of the colder climates are all too familiar with the routine of breaking ice in the buckets and water troughs every morning. It’s not a fun task to sludge out in the mud and snow with a sledge hammer to make sure the horses can reach their water, but a necessary one. Fortunately, with the advent of heated water buckets and stock tank heaters (also available from Schneiders and Valley Vet Supply, respectively), this task is becoming much easier, allowing you to have a few more minutes in the warm indoors, and your horses to have access to water at all times.
Middleburg Fleece-Lined Tall Winter Boot
English riders know that breeches and field boots look wonderful and stylish, but they aren’t always the warmest during a chilly ride. The Middleburg Fleece-Lined Tall Winter Boot (available at Dover Saddlery), not only keeps you stylishly warm, but also fits safely in your stirrup irons. The rubber sole offers traction on icy terrain, and the zipper allows for easily putting these on and taking them off. The leather and synthetic fleece liner keeps your feet cozy as you tackle fences and transitions.
WeatherBeeta Parka With Belly Wrap 1200D Dog Coat
Last, but certainly not least, we can forget about our other furry companions. What would a barn be without a dog? While many dogs have enough fur to only begin to feel the cold in the arctic (or so it seems from all the vacuuming we constantly do), some are not as fortunate, while others are getting up there in years and beginning to feel winter’s chill more than they did in years past. A longtime partner of the American Quarter Horse Association and known for their high quality and durable products, WeatherBeeta brings us the WeatherBeeta Parka with Belly Wrap for our canine friends. This blanket has a triple weave outer shell, making it a durable choice for active pooches. It also features a wrap chest and belly band to add extra warmth and reflective stripes for added visibility at night.
While we hope this winter won’t be too harsh, we can definitely be prepared, just in case. What are some of your favorite winter weather must-haves?