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Layering tips for riders

Posted on 19 January 2016 by Kim

Layering tips for horse riders

Learn to Layer

When the weather becomes cooler, the secret to staying warm, dry and comfortable is the simple trick of layering. Combine base and mid layers with a waterproof or down top layer for ultimate winter weather protection. Some riders don’t know how to layer. Others are afraid to layer for fear of looking bigger than they actually are but if you successfully master the art of layering, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A perfectly layered look will compliment any shape.

Base Layer

Like it or not, all of us riders perspire, to some degree, when riding and doing chores. This is a fact of life. However if perspiration stays close to the skin, it will make you damp and uncomfortable.

The purpose of this "next-to-the-skin" layer is to help regulate your body temperature by wicking away, or put simply, moving perspiration away from the skin. 

Your base layer should be a snug fit without feeling too restrictive.

Nowadays base layers come in a fantastic selection of colours. Noble Outfitters are always one to watch for layering pieces and this season is no exception as they've added Juniper and Merlot to their range of colours of base layers. 

Noble Outfitters Hailey Long Sleeved Crew Riding TopNoble Outfitters Ashley Long Sleeved Riding Top         

Earlier this year Woof Wear threw their hat in to the clothing arena with a simple base layer in a stunning palette of colours. Here there's something to suit all tastes.

Woof Wear Performance Riding Shirt   Woof Wear Performance Riding Shirt   Woof Wear Performance Riding Shirt  Woof Wear Performance Riding Shirt 

Mid Layer

The mid layer is designed to retain warmth and to insulate as well as wicking away any moisture from the base layer.

This layer should fit more loosely than the base layer but remember, it needs to touch the base layer in order to wick effectively.

The mid layer is heavier than the base layer and often cosier. The traditional fleece is often seen as a popular choice as a mid layer.

Noble Outfitters First Crush Cowl  Noble Outfitters Cozy Cowl   

Outer Layer

This is the layer that is outermost to the elements. When it rains ideally this layer needs to be waterproof. So look for waterproof labels or the next best thing, i.e. water-resistant.

Do bear in mind that when it rains, the temperature usually rises a couple of degrees, so you don't really need a waterproof jacket that's down filled as it'll be like being in a sauna! These pieces tend to be lighter in weight and design. This year sees an outstanding waterproof coat: Mark Todd Ladies Performance Long Waterproof Coat and the Mark Todd Inga Ladies Waterproof Jacket

You'll find all our Waterproof Riding Wear includes everything you need to keep you dry in wet weather.

Mark Todd Ladies Performance Long Waterproof Coat Mark Todd Inga Ladies Waterproof Jacket

However if it’s not raining and it's bitterly cold, the outer layer needs to be warm and cosy. Nowadays there's a really stylish selection to choose from and they're so nice that you'll probably keep them for "best", not the stables! Look at these two coats below...they look like they're straight out of a fashion shoot, don't they?

Equetech Rowant Long Quilted Coat    Mountain Horse Lauren Down Coat 

 Ready to layer?

Take a look at my riding tops, choose from sleeveless, short sleeved or long sleeved. And remember, we offer free UK delivery on all orders at EQUUS, with no minimum spend!

Shop women's riding tops and base layers


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.


  • Vanessa Hill posted on October 06 2017 at 10:10 AM

    Good article. I have osteo arthritis and have to keep warm.
    My biggest problem is keeping my feet warm. I tend to go through the toes of my socks within a few weeks

  • Lynda Barnes posted on October 12 2018 at 10:10 PM

    Hello from Australia, great information here. I like layering in winter, cooler months here, including wearing outer puffy vests to keep warm. Currently we are heading into summer so now looking at staying cooler, using layers if needed, also use neck chill scarves to try and keep cool. Have lessons early in morning due to heat. (here in South Australia we can get temperatures over 40c so need to keep cool, and keep horses cool too, no riding in extreme heat). Cheers.

  • Anne-Marie Durno posted on October 12 2018 at 10:10 PM

    I recently bought some Noble Outfiuters pedi socks. I have very damaged legs and feet do my calves are distorted, one foit has no feeling and they swell up. The socks fit well, keep my feet warm and don’t cut into my legs. I’d recommend them for regulating moisture and heat in your trotters!

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