two western riders on a winter trail riding expedition

Winter Trail Riding Essentials

If you love to trail ride in the warm summer months, then you might want to try out winter trail riding. With no leaves on the trees and a layer of pristine white snow on the ground, you can see stunning and beautiful views that you may not otherwise be able to. But winter trail riding does come with a certain degree of risk. Knowing what to wear for both horse and rider can keep you safe and warm. 

Dress for Winter Trail Riding Success

winter trail riding outfit

The weather can be somewhat unpredictable over the winter. One minute you’ll have pristine clear skies and the next it could be cold with heavy wet snow falling from the skies. If you dress in layers you’ll be prepared for whatever the day will throw at you. If the weather warms up you can always shed a layer or two-- but it’s very difficult to put on layers that you don’t have! Always dress for the unexpected. 

Choose Cozy Fleece-Lined Breeches

children's winter trail riding breeches, unifleece

A warm pair of Unifleece breeches will keep your legs cozy and comfortable. The  TuffRider Ladies Unifleece Pull-On Winter Breeches are fleece-lined and feature non-slip UltraGripp knee patches. Now you don’t have to sacrifice your grip in the saddle for comfort on a cold winter’s day. After all, we all know our horses are at their friskiest in the cold weather!

Use Your Body Heat

When it comes to outerwear, start off with a mid-layer, like the  Equine Couture Alpine Puffer Jacket. These garments are designed to trap the rider’s body heat and create a nice insulated cocoon of warm air. This jacket has the added benefit of a two-way zipper and smartphone-sized pockets. 

Get Ready for Rain

woman wearing red centennial jacket stands on pathway, raincoat for winter trail riding

What happens if it starts to pour freezing rain on your winter trail ride? This is why we always dress in layers! Protect your nice warm mid-layer with a raincoat, like the  Equine Couture Ladies Centennial Jacket. This waterproof jacket has a dual zipper for comfortable riding and a drawstring hood so you can pull it snug around your helmet. Vibrant colors, like red, offer added visibility for passing cars, hunters, and other riders on a bright winter day. 

Invest in a Good Pair of Gloves

Don’t forget your hands! Shopping for effective and warm winter gloves can be one of the most difficult parts of your winter trail riding outfit. Some gloves offer the right amount of warmth, but no grip for the reins, and vice versa. Luckily, the  TuffRider Black Diamond gloves were created to solve that problem. These gloves are waterproof with a thinsulate lining to keep your hands warm and dry no matter what you’re doing. They also have a grippy silicone textured palm so you can hold the reins easily. 

Switch Out Your Helmet Liner

Did you know that you can even winterize your helmet? The  Troxel winter headliner replaces your current liner to provide added warmth and protection from the cold winter air. The fleece fabric wraps down around your ears and temple- like built-in ear muffs! If you’re planning on going winter trail riding often, it’s also a good idea to use the  Horze reflect helmet band for added visibility when near roads or in the woods. 

Upgrade Your Horse’s Tack for Winter Trail Riding

Horze quarter sheet for winter trail riding

If you’re cold, then your horse probably is too. Keeping your horse warm and dry while you ride will make your winter trail ride more enjoyable for the both of you. The key is to still use equipment that wicks sweat away from your horse and has some breathability. One of the most basic pieces of winter trail riding equipment is a quarter sheet. While there are both fleece and wool options, the  Horze wool quarter sheet offers added breathability and a beautiful design. 

Don’t Get Caught in the Dark

Daylight fades much faster over the winter. Don’t be caught unaware and with no visibility for your horse in the dark. A reflective wrap-around riding sheet, harness, and boots ensures that you and your horse are visible no matter what. If you don’t have access to any sort of reflective equipment for your horse, consider attaching lights or glow sticks to your saddle or bridle to offer added visibility. 

Protect Your Horse’s Hooves

EAsycare Trail Boots for winter trail riding, modeled on a dappled grey horse standing on pavement

Many horses are left barefoot over the winter to allow for a rest period for their hooves. This becomes an added consideration for winter trail riding, but you don’t have to let it hold you back.   Easycare’s Easyboot Trail Horse boot has an aggressive tread pattern to ensure your horse has grip even in the snow. The front shield and rubber sole protects your horse’s hooves no matter the terrain. 

Prepare for the Unexpected

Consider adding a few bags to your saddle to carry a halter and lead, extra hoof boot, water, and treats. These supplies can mean the difference between a great winter trail riding experience and a long hike back to the barn on foot. The best saddle bags have multiple pockets,   like this one, or slide easily over the horn of a western saddle,   like this one

Avoid Polo Wraps

Many equestrians clip their horses' heavy winter coats over the winter so they can still ride and cool down safely. Unfortunately, this leaves your horse’s legs bereft of their warm coat while riding in the snow. While your first instinct might be to reach for a set of warm fuzzy polo wraps- it’s best to leave these at home. This material soaks up any moisture in the environment and becomes heavy, creating a risk of it sagging off of your horse’s leg. Instead, try a pair of  Professional’s Choice Ventech Brushing boots. These boots will shield your horse’s legs from the cold and snow, but still offer breathability. 

Have a Cooler Handy

navy blue with red trim cooler modeled on a chestnut horse standing on grass, perfect for winter trail riding

Be ready to keep your horse snug-as-a-bug while they cool off back at the barn. The  TuffRider Classic Unifleece Cooler is made of a moisture-wicking material that will help to evaporate any sweat from your horse’s coat. A set of crisscross surcingles and a Clozease closure create an adjustable fit that’s sure to keep your horse comfortable. 

Be Prepared for Anything with has all the supplies you need for a great winter trail riding experience. From hoof boots to saddle bags to breeches to jackets, we’ve got quality winter riding gear at affordable prices for both horse and rider. Check out our Clearance section for great deals on Unifleece breeches and coolers. 

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