Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas in your area? Oak Haven Acres Horse Farm may be in North Carolina, but we still get cold weather during the winter. Fortunately, we are far enough south to seldom get more than an inch of snowfall for the season. Do you have your winter riding gear ready for the frigid temperatures?
Regardless of where you live, you’ll be changing into a warmer wardrobe for the winter season. When the thermometer plummets, you don’t have to give up valuable time with your beloved horse. Thankfully, there is a plethora of outdoor apparel that can help make being in the great outdoors more enjoyable.
Horses are strong, hearty animals that can tolerate excess heat and cold. Their heavy coats allow them to be comfortable in frigid temperatures, especially since they are sheltered from freezing rain and snow. That’s why all of us equine lovers provide warm, clean barns and stables for our horses all year.
Since horses need exercise and socialization every day, you need winter riding gear so that they can enjoy companionship in any weather. Many of our boarding clients have already brought in their winter riding gear and are exploring through the pastures on chilly mornings.
The Best Winter Riding Gear
Have you considered some of the apparel that’s available? We enjoy looking through equine supply catalogs and online for the newest ideas in warmth and comfort. Here are some of our favorite styles in winter riding gear for you to consider.
Quilted Saddle Pads
You probably already use saddle blankets as we do on our horses. Most saddles are made of smooth leather, blankets and pads that add a comfortable layer between the saddle and the horses’ backs. It prevents rubbing and chaffing on your furry friends when you ride them.
During the cold winter season, our ranch hands prefer using quilted saddle pads. The thicker padding is warmer and blocks out the cold on your horses’ backs and sides when you’re riding. They are quite attractive and come in a variety of colors to match your style.
Have you noticed that your joints ache more during the winter, especially as you get older? Your joints rebel against the cold. When you’re riding your horses, consider their hard-working legs, and buy them a trendy pair of sports boots.
These wrap around your horses’ front and back legs right above their ankles. The more expensive ones are made of leather, but you can still find quality sports boots in durable faux leather as well. We like the shoes that are lined with soft fleece to guard against chafing.
They have elastic straps with hook-and-loop fasteners for a perfect fit. Sports boots keep your horses’ lower legs warm and keep out the cold, snow, and grit during rides. Since they have a contoured fit, they won’t interfere with the running and trotting habits.
While the bottoms of your equine friends’ feet are shod with iron shoes for protection, what about the upper part of their feet? Horses’ feet and legs are quite sensitive and need support when riding, training, and sporting events. Bell boots are recommended for every season but are especially protective during the winter when your horse is galloping through the snow.
Since they aren’t lined, bell boots aren’t meant to keep out the cold. Rather, they protect your furry friends’ back feet from hurting their front feet. When horses run, they bring their hind feet toward their front feet to kick off from the ground.
It’s common for horses to be in a full-speed run and kick in their back feet a little too far. This overreach can make them kick their front heels with their back toes, causing painful injuries. When your horses are fitted for bell boots, their feet are protected from overreaching.
A quality pairs of rubber bell boots should last you a full season, depending on weather and how often your horse trains and runs. Remember that these protective boots aren’t lined, so they aren’t meant for your horse to wear when resting in the barn or stable.
What could be cozier and warmer than a blanket when you are chilled? Your loving horse friends also enjoy warm blankets when the temperature starts to drop. Their fur coats may not be enough to keep them warm, especially older, or younger horses.
Horse blankets are made like human winter coats and are made of water-proof material stuffed with warm polyfill and a soft lining. They cover your horses’ bodies snuggly with easy-to-use straps. Also, they add a layer of warmth and keep out the rain and snow when turning your furry friends out for a winter gallop. They are an essential part of winter riding gear.
Our resident vet recommends that you check your horses’ blankets daily to ensure proper fit. If not, the ill-fitting straps can rub sore spots on the animals’ backs and sides. Also, look for any damage to the coats and repair or replace them as needed. Some horse lovers keep blankets on their horses all winter season if their stalls are especially cold.
Oak Haven Acres Horse Farm is the ideal place for boarding or retiring your beloved equine friends. No matter what the season, we love our horse residents and make sure they are kept comfortable and happy. Contact us for more information about winter riding gear and a warm stable on our beautiful grounds. Happy Holidays from our ranch to yours.