Baby, it's cold outside
Here at Derriere Equestrian, as horsey fanatics, we know that the base layer is probably the most important clothing layer, at this time of year! Take our gorgeous DE Zip Skin garment... It doesn't just look good - this piece of technically-advanced riding apparel is moisture wicking, and is made from an all-way stretch fabric that keeps you cool in the hot weather, and warm in the cold, ensuring thermoregulation is maintained during horse riding or other exercise. Fairly priced for its superior climate control benefits, the Zip Skin even provides UV protection.
So, what are the benefits of moisture wicking garments? We have used a high-tech sporting fabric in our 'skin' tops, consisting of 80% Polyamide and 20% Elasthane.
The predominance of Polyamide makes the Zip Skins and their sister product, the round-necked Pocket Skin, extremely tear-proof, sweat-resistant and abrasion-resistant. Importantly, the garments let the skin breathe, preventing discomfort caused by overheating when you ride. The wicking fabric draws sweat away from the body to the surface of the garment where it evaporates, to keep you dry in the saddle. The carefully-balanced mix of Polyamide and Elasthane means the Elasthane fibres offer elasticity and stretch, for a comfortable, form-fitting garment that moves with you - there's nothing worse than a restrictive clothing layer, if you're show jumping, for example! Polyamide-based technical tops are also easy to wash, don't need ironing, and dry quickly on a radiator - perfect for the winter months, when we are often washing our horse riding clothes more frequently!
Layers 2 and 3
So, once you have your slim-line, moisture-wicking, insulating horse riding top, where do you go next? Essentially, you're looking to create thermal insulation, which involves conduction (exchange of heat through contact with your skin), convection (via the movement of air between the layers), and radiation (creating warmth beneath the garments).
So next, you need your mid-layer riding top - this is used to trap the air between the bottom two layers. Depending on the weather, this can be something like a fleece or a softshell riding jacket. Don't be tempted to just choose a thick layer in the cold weather - more slim-line layers are more beneficial, and offer mobility and comfort.
Your top layer will be your outer coat - this is a protective layer creating a barrier from the wind and rain. If this isn't hi-viz, you may even add a fourth layer, like a reflective waistcoat or tabard, for visibility in winter - another reason not to choose thick layers, as you still need your mobility to comfortably ride your horse or pony!
In the same way that we may start a training session with an exercise sheet on our horse, we usually start our ride or schooling session wearing all of our clothing layers. As we exercise and move around, our body reacts by increasing blood flow to the skin's surface. It is essentially taking the heat from within the body, to the top of the skin. At this point, we often remove our outer layer or coat, to avoid getting too hot and sweating - although if you are wearing a technologically advanced base layer like the DE Zip Skin or Pocket Skin, the moisture wicking material does remove the sweat, and passes it through the layers of clothing.
Remember, winter time can be a glorious time to ride and enjoy our horses, if we are able to work around the changing temperatures and fleeting daylight, and plan our riding wardrobe!