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Tips for the Rider

Tips for the Rider: Tips for Choosing a Winter Jacket

Horse Riding Winter Jackets Buying Guide

Whether heading out to on a winter trail ride, taking part in a winter riding lesson, or just going to muck out the stalls, make sure your riding jacket is up to date.

Modern materials, designs, and features have rendered the jackets of yesteryear obsolete. Today's riding jackets are made for our equestrian sport - they breathe better, stay drier and warmer, and are lighter in weight. They are also loaded with features to give you the most convenient and comfortable fit while supporting you in any type of equestrian activity. Most also look good enough that you can wear them from barn on to your busy day.

Choose your jacket based on the kinds of activities you engage in, and the weather in your area of the country. 

Heavy Jackets and Parkas

For hours out of doors in really frigid temperatures, you'll need a Heavy Jacket or Parka. These "super duty" coats are designed to keep you warm and dry down to sub-zero temperatures.  Many of these parkas are "Layer Systems" which allow you to add or remove layers depending upon the weather. 

The base layer, also known as the wick layer , is the layer of clothing that is in direct contact with your skin. A common problem with cold-weather riding is chill after you stop!  Some characteristics to look for in the base layer material of your riding coat:

Absorption: Only absorbs a small percentage of water--less than 1% is preferable.
Fibers: The fibers of winter riding jacket our should be lightweight and durable.
Odor-Blocking: Should be treated to decrease smell and itch due to body odor and general horsey smells!

The insulating layer of your winter riding jacket should retain body heat, and the best way to do this is to create a layer of still air around the body to decreases the heat exchange between your body and the outside. This layer is often made up of polyesters that are treated to make the fibers stand up and trap air, forming the protective layer of still air for the main insulation. Materials should have the same moisture-wicking properties as the base layer and should prevent heat loss. Popular options are:

Fleece : A dense knit of polyester fabric is taken and passed through a napping machine. One side of the fabric has a tight solid weave, while the other has a fluffy, air retaining surface.
Double sided Fleece : A fleece that is napped on both sides, creating a tight, solid weave.
Pile : A single-sided fleece fabric that has undergone more napping, creating a thicker open fabric.
Down: Of course, the classic for lightweight warmth is goose down. Equestrian Collections has a large selection of Down Jackets.  Just remember, don't get down wet! 

The third and final layer of a heavy duty parka, must be waterproof , windproof and get rid of body moisture. It must also protect from chaffing , cuts , scrapes and other outside damage common when you ride your horse.  

Medium Weight Jackets: 

Of course, most equestrians don't ride daily in sub zero temps and snow! What most of us need is a good Medium Weight Jacket.  These work horses of outerwear will be your go-to jackets for most winter riding.  Some depend on soft shell bonded fabric which is wind resistant on the outside and soft fleece on the inside.  Others use traditional equestrian quilting to add lightweight insulation.  Many medium weight jackets have removable sleeves, so that you can use them as a vest or a jacket.  This makes them even more versatile. 

Light Weight Jackets:

Are you one of those lucky equestrians on the South Western Coast, or South East that never really have cold days?  For you we have Light Weight Jackets!  Generally fitted, with light insulation, and flexible "rider friendly" features.  These light coats are ideal for anyone between seasons, or to cut the chill on a cloudy day. Light weight jackets include wind breakers and light weight fleece jackets.  Every equestrian should have a light weight jacket in their wardrobe... and probably in their car, just in case the weather cools off unexpectedly!

Features to Look for in an Equestrian Jacket of any Weight:

Seams: Check the seams of the winter riding jacket. This is the first place water is likely to seep through. Look for a riding coat with as few seams as possible and avoid seams in vulnerable places like the shoulders and upper back.

Zippers:  Look for zippers that are well-shielded and coated with plastic to resist humidity and rusting. On premium brands of winter equestrian outerwear like Mountain Horse, Ariat, Kerrits and Irideon, many of the zippers are completely waterproof.

Radial and Articulated sleeves eliminate the restrictions and tugging that occurs in the shoulders of a normal jacket or parka by using a different construction of the shoulder, armhole and underarm panels. Radial sleeves also promote easier movement - particularly important for when you are riding over fences, bringing horses in, grooming and so forth.

Zip off hoods help to control body temperature, visibility and comfort. Most of your body heat while riding is lost through your head. So, ride in a riding helmet and chose one of  the equestrian jackets have hoods that fit over your helmet for added protection as you ride.


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