#1 Insulated Paddock Boots-I have Ariat Brossard Paddock Boots. Retail-~$120. Imagine never having cold toes at the barn again and never having to fear that pain you get from cold toes when you dismount the horse and it feels like your toes are gonna fall off. I lived and rode in Maine for several years and these insulated riding boots are my number one most useful cold weather riding gear purchase of all time. They basically changed my life. I like the Brossards because they are rugged in their construction and have a synthetic upper which also makes them waterproof. I am normally not a fan of synthetic boots (instead of leather) but it works well in these boots and they won’t get wet in the snow, so they are also good for barn chores. They are comfortable to walk in too. If you purchase these, you will not regret it.
#2 Insulated Breeches-I have Kerrits Sit Tight n’ Warm knee patch breeches. Retail-$99-120. They also come in full seat. They are much warmer than regular breeches. They have an outer surface that does not attract horse hair and dirt, etc. They have a wide waistband and are lined with microfleece which makes them comfortable. I am told they run slightly long, so while they fit people of average height like me, if you are petite you might consider other brands.
#3 Heavy weight insulated riding gloves-I have a pair of medium weight insulated gloves by Kerrits that are not much thicker than a regular pair of gloves. I also have a heavier, bulkier pair of insulated Dover Saddlery brand gloves (they may not sell this particular type anymore, but they are similar to the SSG microfiber thinsulate gloves sold at Dover for about $14). I wear the most appropriate pair based on the weather and if it’s really cold, I layer them and pull off the over pair when I need to do tasks that require me to be more dexterous.
What I might like for winter gear that I don’t already have:
A pair of riding overpants-Like the Mountain Horse Mountain Rider Pant-Retail-$99 at Smartpak. I would like to wear these over breeches on really cold days for riding and doing barn chores. They look like snow pants but with grippy legs and seat so you don’t slide right off the horse. They also look like they’d be handy in the event of spilling part of a water bucket on oneself in the middle of winter or similar barn chore accidents. If you’ve ever had that happen you’ll understand what I mean.
What I don’t need for winter riding:
I think that riding-specific jackets are generally over-rated. You can probably get a warmer jacket at a better value that is not riding-specific or stay warm by layering, depending on your climate. Similarly, neck cozies, scarves (as long as you tuck them into your jacket for safety) and ear warmers are all useful for staying warm but don’t have to be specifically made to be “riding apparel.” In addition, when I purchase winter riding apparel, I try to buy items I can use for both riding and barn chores since I only want to get dressed once when it’s cold out and I don’t want to mess with my clothes at all once I’m out at the barn.
If I could have one splurge for an item I don’t already own:
I would buy the Gersemi Isabella Long Plaid Coat (Retail-$279 at Smartpak). I would buy it for no other reason than it is pretty and I like it. I am sure there are warmer coats out there, and I have just gone on about how I think riding specific coats are unnecessary, but if I was going to buy one, I would buy a long one for added warmth and wind protection, and no, I probably wouldn't do barn chores in it because it would be too nice.