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A California Girl’s Winter Survival Guide – Part 3: The Human

A 3 Part Blog… The horses, the barn, & the human.

Making sure the horses and the barn are ready for winter is critical, but there’s only so much time I can spend in the cold. In order to even come close to surviving, I need to be wearing approximately 10 layers of clothes. Even then, there’s a good chance you’ll find me under a pile of blankets, muttering something about defrosting, for 5 hours after I get home. I should also mention that “cold” for me is still 40°F, and it’s regularly been below 20°F when I feed breakfast. For those who can do some quick math, that’s twenty degrees below my cold threshold—not good. I end up being about as happy as my horse was here:

(FYI, that is not his happy face)

(FYI, that is not his happy face)

Aside from wishing I owned stock in hand and toe warmers, there are a few key pieces of clothing that get me through the winter.

Let’s start with a base layer. Wearing long johns while skiing as a kid kept me nice and warm and the same concept applies here. I swear by the SmartPak Base Layer Tights & Crew Neck Top. They’re thin enough that they fit under my jeans and other layers without adding bulk. No extra bulk is important when you need mobility for hauling water, riding extra frisky horses, or if you are just tired of feeling like the Michelin Man for three straight months.

The one thing I’ve learned since moving to Massachusetts is that even the smallest piece of clothing can make a world of difference. For example, there are still mornings when I completely forget a scarf (don’t judge me, I’m from California!). How much warmth could a scarf possibly offer? Well, when it’s a super fancy ceramic-infused scarf, it matters! The Back on Track Scarf is designed to reflect your own body heat back to you. That’s just a little less heat that escapes out into the endless void of cold. The more heat I can keep, the happier this horse mom is. Not to mention, it’s just a really nice scarf that I can easily transition from barn use to non-barn outings.

On the small pieces of clothing front, I highly recommend a good pair of gloves for work and for riding. For work, I couldn’t live without my Winter Lined Rancher Gloves. The polar fleece lining in these gloves is simply amazing. And if you’re like me at all and tend to lose gloves one at a time, the color of these gloves comes in handy. I’ve haven’t lost one yet in a snow drift!

Finally, let’s talk footwear. My toes and my fingers are always this close to jumping ship and running back to the car where it’s warm. I recommend the Tack Classic Muck Boot for day-to-day barn activities to help prevent this from happening. They keep my feet warm and dry, and that’s really all a girl can ask for when trudging through piles of snow. They also have extra space for all the socks and toe warmers I could possibly need! The boots say they’re good for temps down to -20°F, which is good to know, but I hope to never in my life see if that’s true.

While I could write a hundred pages of exactly what goes into my winter wardrobe, those pieces are the cornerstones of my survival. It’s not easy being a warm weather transplant in New England, but I’m well equipped and will hopefully “get over it.” In the meantime, I’ll keep my layers and whatever semblance of warmth I can achieve and muddle through. Besides, a little time in the cold spent with the horses is still time well spent in my book!


Posted in SmartPak Features, Stories & Adventures

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