What’s in Your Winter Survival Kit?

Vermont eventer Lila Gendal shares some tricks of the trade for not freezing to death at the barn.

From Lila:Before I went to do my barn chores this morning, I lingered inside by the fireplace, sipping on a cup of a coffee, while checking weather.com. Feels like -10. As I read that daunting forecast, I thought to myself life in Vermont can be tolerable in the winter as long as you have the right items, products and gear to not only make life a little bit easier, but a bit more pleasant!

1. Carhartt overalls. No matter how frigid the temps, and no matter how awful the wind chill, when I have my overalls on, life all of a sudden becomes bearable. These overalls may not be the most attractive piece of clothing ever made… but who the heck cares when it’s negative 10 degrees outside? Winter in the barn will never, and has never been about making fashion statements. It’s all about keeping warm, which is exactly why every rider living in New England in the winter, or anywhere cold for that matter, should invest in these amazingly insulated and heavy duty overalls! Quite seriously, I never leave home without them and they come in kid sizes too which is adorable!

awww...matching carhartt overalls!

Awww… matching Carhartt overalls!

2. De-icers. Honestly, deicers are the best things since sliced bread. I don’t know how other people survive without heated water buckets or de-icers. I have my horses in a large barn, and there’s too much empty space unfortunately, so my water buckets and tanks freeze. I’m sure people can survive without these items, but it sure does make life easier knowing there is unfrozen water just around the corner.

3. Hand Warmers. I don’t know if I am the only one who still uses these or not, but hand warmers are amazing in the mornings, or whenever you need to reboot during the day. Often times in the winter, I’ll keep hand warmers in my coat pockets so I can easily and quickly warm up my hands on a cold winter day.

4. Music. Whether you are listening to a CD player, your laptop, an iPod, or your iPhone, music literally keeps me going in the winter. Not only do I whistle while I work in the morning, I also ride to music almost daily. I find that the right kind of music can be extremely motivating and uplifting, especially when the temperatures are less than desirable outside.

5. Last but not least, travel mugs. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my mornings revolve around tea and coffee. I’m basically useless unless I have had a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. If the machine broke, or I slept in and missed out on my morning ritual… you don’t want to come into contact with me! Whoever invented the thermos was a genius! Nothing keeps me warmer than a nice warm drink in the morning, or anytime I am feeling chilled to the bone!

travel mug


What’s in YOUR winter survival kit?

My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media… or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.

V aug jump school!




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