Winter riding is challenging — invigorating, but challenging. Fresh horses and cold temperatures often go hand-in-hand and, while we want to stay warm while riding, we don’t want to sacrifice fit, feel and function in our equipment, especially our gloves.
Part of the key to staying warm is to provide enough warmth without creating moisture or sweat. Hands and feet are often the most difficult parts of our body to keep warm in the winter. We rode on cold, blustery days to get a good idea which of the 18 gloves in this article (see chart) will keep you warm and give you the feel you want while riding.
Within our group of testers, we had two categories of choice: those riders whose hands seemed to freeze no matter how mild the weather once the temperature dipped below 40?° and those whose hands didn’t suffer much while riding as long as they kept warm while in the barn and tacking up.
Therefore, in making our recommendations, we considered which gloves provided the most warmth, while accepting that for the additional warmth we must sacrifice some feel, and which gloves provided warmth for hardier hands while continuing to offer superior closeness and feel in a winter riding glove.
For closeness in riding with excellent warmth, the Charles Owen Balmoral offered superior warmth and a close feel equal to that of a non-winter glove. However, our testers noted the silk lining tended to bunch, making it difficult to slide your fingers in.
For just barn work, the SSG Winter Rancher and the Double Diamond Lined Work gloves both offer soft, polar fleece lining for warmth, supple leather exterior and durability. The SSG Winter Rancher glove has an open wrist, while the Double Diamond Lined Work Glove has a fleece-lined elastic cuff.
For riding, we enjoyed our most comfortable, warm winter riding sessions in the Woof/Nunn Finer glove, the Thornhill Thinsulate with Hipora and the pricier SSG Winter training glove. They were the warmest gloves in our field trial, offering exceptional warmth and a good feel of the reins. However, Thornhill is our overall choice for its waterproof Hipora insert and best price.
Contact Your Local Tack Store Or: Charles Owen & Co., United Kingdom, 0044-0-1978-317777 www.charlesowen.co.uk; Frantisi Inc. 905/738-1954; Double Diamond Halter Company, 406/582-0706; Geier Glove Co., www.geierglove.com, 360/736-5883; Miller’s, www.millerharness.com, 800/553-7655; Nunn Finer 800/342-1723 www.nunnfinerproducts.com; SSG/Fargo Trading, www.ssgridinggloves.com; Thornhill, www.thornhillusa.com, 800/445-2289; Trophy Glove Co. 800/323-2928; Watson Gloves, www.watsongloves.com, 800/663-9509.