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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 in addition to the basics of white, black, navy and grey. Take a look at their range of Hailey Base Layer in 

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

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 comes in different degrees of "heavier" as the selection of base layers below shows.

Noble Outfitters First Crush Cowl  Toggi Catton Ladies Quarter Zip Fleece   Mountain Horse Heat Tech Polo

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. 

However if it’s not raining and it's bitterly cold, the outer layer needs to be warm and cosy. So go for down coats and jackets. However these are becoming harder to find as the weather is so much warmer nowadays and demand for these sort of products has declined significantly. Having said that Mountain Horse can usually be relied on and this year is no exception as they have both a down filled riding coat and riding jacket...

Mountain Horse Lauren Down Jacket   Mountain Horse Lauren Down Coat

Consequently nowadays you’ll find far more waterproof and water resistant options than you will down filled ones. As always buy the best your budget can afford, it’ll be worth it I can promise you.

Mountain Horse Amber JacketToggi Abbington Ladies Waterproof 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

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