If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last week huddled over a mug of hot tea and wearing your parka indoors. Though I’m a born and raised Midwesterner and should be used to single-digit temperatures by now, I can’t say I’ve handled this recent cold snap very well.

Even though I want to wrap myself in a large blanket and become a human burrito until May, I am mother to three wonderful ponies who require exercise, attention, and many cookies, even in the dead of winter. Out of the house and to the barn I go!

Here are four ways I make my frigid barn time more bearable during the winter months.

1. Invest in some cute and practical layers.

Lululemon’s Swiftly Tech Crew.

In my experience, I have never regretted wearing too many items of clothing to the barn when it’s cold. It’s always better to unzip and take things off rather than long for the sweater you left at home! Check out Lululemon for great long-sleeve tees like the Swiftly Tech, Noel Asmar Equestrian for cozy cable knits, and Horseware Ireland for warm outerwear.

I’ve also found that wearing a chic winter ROOTD [Riding Outfit of the Day] keeps my spirits up even when the temperature is bringing me down. If you really want to be the envy of the barn, purchase HotHands hand and feet warmers in bulk and stash them in you pockets and in your boots!

 

2. Don’t overdo it.

Be sure to spend extra time at the walk when the temperature plummets so your horse can warm up and stretch out slowly. If your muscles feel tight and stiff during the winter, chances are, your horse feels the same way! Drape your pony in a cozy cooler or quarter sheet (the gold Horseware Rambo Newmarket is an NF Style favorite!) and walk on a loose rein at the beginning and end of every ride. Additionally, don’t try to accomplish too much during a cold hack and be smart about when and how often you jump. Pole work, for example, keeps a ride interesting but doesn’t put too much strain on your horse’s legs!

 

3. Give yourself the spa treatment.

Bath bombs by Lush.

As riders, we go out of our way to ensure that our ponies are warm and comfortable during the winter, but often forget to treat ourselves the same way. If your fingers and toes feel like ice when you dismount, scurry on home, run a bath, and drop in a bath bomb. My personal favorites are from Lush Cosmetics—they’re an inexpensive treat and will leave plenty of money in your wallet to cover your next board bill. To complete the mood, light an Equus Candle and relax!

 

4. Be smart!

Kate Kosnoff & “Waffle”.

Though the actual temperature may be in the teens, be sure to look at the wind chill and the real feel, which could be drastically colder than it seems. Use your best judgment and pay attention to the cues your horse gives you.

-Photo courtesy of Kate Kosnoff.