When we are riding our horses, the last thing we want to think about is our discomfort. We want to enjoy the beauty of spending time with our equine partners and of our sport. An endurance rider needs a lightweight, breathable, protective, and cooling covering like a equestrian neck gaiter for those long days while a sport rider needs to look neat, tidy, and abide by the rules of their competition. Whether we ride for fun, explore the world through endurance riding, or challenge ourselves as equestrians, equipping ourselves with the right head and face accessories can make or break a riding experience. So how do we find the accessory best for us and our time with our horse? Read on and find answers to this and many more questions.
Why do horse racers and endurance riders need to wear equestrian neck gaiters / masks / face coverings?
You might think that we only wear balaclavas to protect ourselves in harsher climates like dusty deserts or cold fields. And we do! A great horseriding balaclava can block things like the cold wind, hot UV rays, and dust. It can also protect us from pesky insects just like a cover can for our horses. But the more we ride and the more riders we speak with, we’ve discovered that wearing balaclavas can do more than just protect us. Horseriders have discovered that wearing a balaclava can help protect the inside of their helmets. (I get into this more below, so read on!)
Can I compete wearing a face covering?
This question is very relevant, especially in this day and age. In competition, any individual may choose to wear a face covering/mask even when it is not required. But when I mention face coverings in this blog, I’m referring more to gear that protects your face and breathing. Especially in the wintertime, riders can wear accessories like balaclavas to maintain a warm body temperature by protecting necks, heads, and faces from the frigid weather.
What are the benefits of wearing a horse riding masks and face covering while training?
Training happens in many different types of weather, and we have to be adaptable with our schedules and gear to be sure both we and our equine friends are safe and comfortable. As we’ve trained, we have noticed how varied conditions can be in one location, not to mention if you’re a rider who likes to travel around and ride in different climates. When we’ve ridden in hot muggy places, we’ve gotten insects in our mouths as we ride. We also sweat a lot on those sunny days. We’ve discovered that a great balaclava or cooling gaiter really helps when it comes to cooling down, staying sweat-free, and preventing itchiness.
During cooler weather, I wear a balaclava or neck gaiter to help maintain my body temperature. If I get hot, I can just pull it down. If I get cold, right back up it goes.
Also, especially for competitive riding and those who have long hair that they like to keep neat, some balaclavas models can help secure hair for a put-together look.
Does it protect the helmet from wear and tear, and bad smells?
I mentioned this a bit before when I answered why horse riders wear balaclavas and other face coverings. The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Whether you sweat a lot while you exercise or you use product to style your hair, the balaclava will prevent that sweat and product from seeping into the liners of your helmet, preserving them. It can also ease the friction between your head and the helmet, preventing wear and tear. Since many helmets are safe to use for up to five years, protecting them from wear and tear with a balaclava will help you get the most out of your protective gear.
Also, collected sweat and product after a few hours of riding can cause some funky odors. When we wear a balaclava, we can just take it off, wash it, and then it’s ready to go as soon as it’s dry. If you wear this and keep your helmet and liner cleaned well and stored safely, you can have a well-cared-for and long-lasting helmet.
Check The Best 6 Horse Riding Masks:
Which is the best-ventilated horse riding balaclava for keeping a neat, tidy look?
A clean and tidy appearance is important to a lot of us. Lose hair that whips in our faces not only blocks our vision but it can also look messy and unkempt. Some of us choose to braid our longer hair or tuck it away in a hair net. Even if we would like to wear a balaclava to stay warm in the colder seasons, many of the products on the market are made for cyclists and motorcyclists and don’t take the specific needs of our sport into account – including our presentation.
Our team at NAROO has collaborated closely with horse riders to help solve problems unique to us, which is how we developed the N3F Balaclava. It is a lightweight, full-face balaclava that has been a favorite, especially among female riders with long hair for a few reasons. The most important is the hidden ponytail strap that allows them to stylishly secure their hair as they ride, which keeps them looking sharp and their hair protected. It pairs well with chin straps and harnesses so they can pull the mouth cover up and down as needed. And, the fabric around the eyes is specially designed with different weaves and tensions to ensure that it won’t slide into their eyes and block their vision – which is incredibly important for the safety of the rider and her horse.
Short list of N3F benefits:
Hidden Ponytail Strap
Maintains Shape With Moveable Mouth Cover
Varying Fabric Thicknesses for Heat Distribution
Breathable and Anti-fog
Which is the lightest, most versatile masks and face coverings for horse riding?
When the temperatures start to shift in the changing seasons of the year, dressing can be awkward. It is no longer as cold or hot as it was, but you still need a little bit of warmth and protection. Each year we notice that we want something light, UV protective, cooling, but also still able to block the wind and anything flying on it.
Our team and our horse riders all over the world have chosen the versatile N1 neck gaiter for this time of year because of the special fabric it’s made with, the AQUA-X Moisture-Repellent Fabric Technology. That phrase is just a fancy way of saying that it helps to absorb sweat and then helps it to evaporate, keeping you comfortable and dry – it also keeps nasty odors away. It’s easy to pull down for any need or up over your face to keep warm or block wind or insects without getting in the way of your chinstrap, harnesses, or hair nets. The mask is also reversible so you can choose to use the side with holes for more breathability, or without holes for a bit more protection against the elements.
Short list of N1 benefits:
- Thin and lightweight 99% UV Protection
- Cool, Moisture-Wicking Fabric
- Multifunctional and Reversible
- Breathing holes
- Tested, Certified, Safe
Which is the best-ventilated mask for endurance horse riding?
For those of us who enjoy the adventure of endurance horse riding, we need gear that will last as long as the journey. Some rider and horse pairs travel as much as 100 miles during a ride – the best part about it is the diversity of the terrain and the beauty of it all. But that distance can come with its obstacles for us. We get tired, hot, sweaty, itchy swamped by bugs, and exposed to a lot of UV rays. Just like we protect our horses from sun and insects with masks, many of us can do the same with a neck gaiter. While discussing warm weather rides with other riders, the most important thing we discovered was that we all wanted something breathable, easily-moved, insect protectant, and cooling.
A great match for these needs is the N2, a neck gaiter inspired by the popularity of its sister – the lightweight, UV-blocking face mask, the N0U. It’s crafted with ventilation mesh, which allows it to both block dust and insects, but also be breathable for our lungs and our skin for long periods. Through the jostle of the terrain, the soft earloops help to prevent it from sliding down and keep it secured under helmets.
Short list of N2 benefits:
- Ventilation Mesh
- Dependable, Hassle-Free Sun Protection
- Insect Proof
- Thin, Adjustable, and Lightweight
- Soft, Elastic Earloops
- Breathable and Comfortable
Which is the best neck gaiter for cooler weather?
While the N2 is fantastic for hotter weather and those long, beautiful rides, some of us may be looking for a little more protection for the cooler times of the year. Often the balance between breathability and warmth becomes a major problem when choosing a neck gaiter that can cover the nose and mouth. Many of us opt to wear them only around our necks and leave our mouths and noses exposed.
One of NAROO’s most beloved masks, the F5 neck gaiter, has proven to be a favorite with riders, particularly because it is reversible between a mesh side and a filtering side. This comes in especially handy with riders who have allergies or who are exposed to a lot of dust. The filtering side made with MICRONET™ Filtering Fabric Technology can block 99% of that dust while the mesh side is ready for when we need more breathability. Because the mask itself is the filter, all we have to do is wash it to clean out the filter and have it ready to use again. It is also quick-dry, which prevents our sweat from giving us a chill and from causing bad odors.
Short list of F5 benefits:
- MICRONET™ Filtering Fabric Technology
- Reusable and Washable
- Multifunctional and Reversible
- Breathable and Comfortable
- Tested, Certified, Safe
Tips and Tricks of Horse Riding with a Balaclava
Tip #1- Keep Your Hair Neat
For the ladies, gents, and everyone in between who wears their hair long and either loves a neat look while they ride or need to keep it tidy for competition, grab a balaclava like the N3F with the hidden hair strap that keeps your hair in place so you can ride without hair falling out of your coiffure and whipping in your face. When you take it off, your hair will still be neat without the wind-swept look.
Tip #2- Try It Out Before Any Big Event
Before a big competition, endurance ride, or very long training session, be sure you pair your chosen balaclava or face cover with your helmet to check for comfort and fit and get used to the pairing.
Tip #3- Quick Changes for the Win
While some riders love a good ear loop to ensure that their neck gaiter doesn’t fall down, others may not like the feeling of the ear loop or need to pull the mask up or down frequently as they ride. If you have a gaiter with earloops like the F5, you can unhook them from your ears so that while you’re riding, you can quickly and easily slide your face cover up and down as needed.
Tip #4- Master of Style
The cool thing about NAROO neck gaiters is that you can style the neck gaiter in multiple ways depending on your needs and your personal style. You can:
- pick the color for you.
- wear it up over the nose and mouth to protect against insects.
- wear it around your neck as a cooling gaiter.
- wear it around your head like a headband to keep you cool and protect your helmet from sweat and hair product.
No matter how you choose to spend time with your horse or practice your sport, it’s important to be as safe and comfortable while doing it. We take your safety, comfort, and happiness seriously and they become the foundation for the research and development of our products.
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P.P.S Please let us know which is your favorite, or if we missed any other usage for a neck gaiter or balaclava. We will reply to your comments and emails and make another post about it.
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