January 16, 2012

Mid-Winter Reynauds Update.

Since there was a really good response to my Reynauds post, I figured I’d give an update on how the winter has gone so far and how my equipment has helped.  TL;DR version: I haven't even come close to passing out this winter due to abnormally warm weather, improved cold weather gear and strict management of my body.  Oh, and some red wine.
The very beginning of a Reynauds episode, this one post-workout.  In a few minutes, the last two toes will be entirely stark-white, like the tip of the 4th toe is in this picture.  Freaky!

The hardest part about saying ‘yes’ to Sunday stall cleaning was knowing that, at some point, the bitter Indiana winter was going to kick my ass.  I kept waiting for it.  And waiting.  And rode outside on January 6 wearing only a thin cotton long sleeve shirt and a light vest, and wondered whether I’d teleported into an alternate universe where my desperate pleading with the Powers That Be to make my first winter as a horse owner a mild one actually had an effect.
But our streak of mild weather was finally broken this week, and it was 9 degrees when I set out to clean stalls today, with an eventual high of 32.  This is what I wore:
  • Smartwool socks
  • Thin Adidas socks
  • Mountain Horse paddock boots
  • Underarmour pants
  • Tuffrider winter breeches
  • Underarmour shirt
  • Long underwear shirt
  • T-shirt
  • Berne's insulated bibs, and a Berne's wool-lined canvas vest
  • SMWC equestrian team coat (absolutely impenetrable to even the coldest Indiana winter)
  • SSG silk glove liners (only $6, everyone should own a pair!)
  • SSG 10 Below Gloves
The verdicts on the new gear?
  • Core: warm and toasty.  Even hot, at times.  Underarmour, FTW.
  • Hands: They would intermittently lose circulation, entirely due to pressure and "inactivity" as they did nothing but hang on to the fork for long periods of time.  Each time, though, I was able to revive them just by moving for a few minutes.  I highly recommend the 10 Belows for riding and chores, and the SSG silk liners underneath for things that don't require dextrous fingers.
  • Toes: No problems while cleaning stalls, but I can't ride in my MH paddock boots, so that continues to be an issue while in the saddle.  I'm holding out for insulated winter tall boots on clearance this spring.
I'm so close to finding something that works in all but the coldest of Indiana weather conditions, which is very exciting, but do you know what's even more exciting?  It's going to be a high of FIFTY-NINE DEGREES next time I clean stalls on Sunday!


  1. I missed the first post but thanks for the information! I have Reynauds too. My fingers lose circulation when I so much as walk through the chiller section of the supermarket. This will be handy in a few months when we move into winter :).

  2. I need to break down and order those 10 below gloves from SmarkPak - our local tack store carries SSG gloves, but not the 10 belows. And I keep reading about the Smartwool socks - are they available in any stores, or only on-line?
    So helpful now to be able to 'talk' with real people with Reynauds!

  3. RGF Kelly, I am thankful that I don't have it that badly. With this mild winter, most of my episodes have occurred while running or walking across cold hard floors or the ground. You threw me for a second before I realized that you must be southern hemisphere! What products do you use?

    Riva Kelly, I don't have a local tack store (GC would be closest, and that's just a hike) so I order everything from SmartPak or Amazon. I get all of my SmartWool from Amazon, though my local bike shop carries it as well. I have the tall heavyweight socks, which I love, and also a microweight three season bottom which is perfect for under my professional clothing at work.

    I agree, I'm so glad you guys are commenting! You're the first people I've ever known that also have it, and riders as well.

  4. Oh, and RGF Kelly, I have now linked the original post on this one so that you can see it. I have tags on the left but I need to get in there and change the color so that they're easier to read.

  5. This cold weather is rediculous! i wonder if Smartpak ships to Canada... i need to get some 10 below gloves and some extra thermal type clothes its freezing here. I do have the high top mountain horse riding boots, the insulated ones. They are amazing once you get used to how high they are, they form to your calf and everything.. my toes get a little cold in them still so i need to get a GOOD pair of wool socks!

    Im gonna go check out the smartpak website, thanks for the details on the gear!

  6. DancingHorses, if they don't, I also really like the Mountain Horse Avoriaz gloves, which are available at a ton of different equine retailers. I have them in a size that's just a bit too small so I don't wear them often, but they're wonderfully warm and have the long cuff like the 10 Belows do.