My show team finished up their season this past weekend.

 We were unfortunate with weather and our mini event got knocked down to a combined training. Once everyone got past their lost cross country phase, merely because we decided on this show for cross country, we refocused and kept on. It was a good way to end the season as both riders had rounds to be proud of and rode to their full capabilities. While I LOVE show season and I LOVE traveling, I am very excited for some downtime. Fall for me is always about going back to the training. We get to put in some good at home lessons with no deadline in sight for a couple of months. My favorite fall appointment is my annual Thanksgiving clinic with my coach. It’s her last trip to the area before she heads for the Florida season and I always get the feedback to drive me into the long winter months.

Not long after I get to enjoy that there is no weekend traveling for a couple of months, I get to start on closing out the summer gear. I always wash both of my trailers in the fall. I find it to be a good transitional activity and I love having fresh rides for the horses in the spring. Once the ritual of barn fans coming down, buckets being swapped out, sheets and blankets being brought out is done, I always get to turn to my own evaluation of winter gear. As a professional, I’m hard on the daily riding gear.


No one struggles with glove usage quite like professional trainers. I always seem to jump brands on winter gloves. I had an old, old SSG leather pair that I LOVED and they lasted years, but the last couple winters I tried a different SSG version and a Heritage and found that I beat them both up fairly quickly. I don’t have a medium fall pair yet, but I usually get less concerned about those as they get minimal usage.


Summer breeches take way less of a beating versus my winter ones. I’m also one of those people who is always cold, so you’ll find me bundled like an Eskimo once it hits below 40°F. I am aware that this year I am on the hunt for 2 new pairs of heavy breeches, as last year did in my previous ones.


Thermal socks are ALWAYS a buy, every season. I tear through my socks in the winter, so I always just hope there is one pair remaining by March and restock in November.



The best winter invention for cold weather riding is the LONG coat. I purchased a Mountain Horse about 5 years ago and while it’s getting to the end of its life, it’s going strong and I absolutely couldn’t go without a coat that somewhat covers my legs.


I swear finding boots in summer or winter that hold up to the miles I put on them is the bane of my existence.  My Ariat medium weight boots are still in good shape after two years, which in my case is a huge win. My “dept of the winter, it’s near zero and we’re putting in the feet warmers” boots fell apart before the end of last season, so I’ll be on the hunt for heavy insulated boots that fit in my little stirrups.

After typing my little checklist here, it looks like I’ll be in for spending a decent amount on clothing here before the bitter Illinois cold sets in. Anyone else looking at restocking their winter riding closet?

Ugh. Ok, before typing this blog I was ready for my siesta time, but as always it doesn’t seem like there is a downtime. I will continue to look forward to real days off, no Friday pack days, and more time to dedicate to my family. Of course, every time I make a plan like that, a new opportunity presents itself and my plan changes. That is what I love about life though. We as a horse community are always transitioning whether it’s because of the season, our horse, our barn, or opportunities. We are a community of change and we live for the thrill of it.


Danielle Vitosh

Danielle Vitosh is a USDF Bronze Silver and Gold medalist. With 21 years of riding experience, she specializes in dressage and eventing. Dressage Elegance by Vitosh is based out of Leland and Plainfield, IL.