These latest equestrian clothing products will help keep you cool during those long days in the sun.
Long, hot and dusty days in the ring and in the saddle are just around the corner. For sound advice on what savvy trainers will wear to feel cool, calm and collecting ribbons, we looked to apparel expert Susan Ebert, associate publisher of “Western & English Today,” the publication for America’s equestrian retailers.
Here are her spot-on recommendations…
What took so long? Thankfully, the trend in technical fabrics—developed for runners, anglers, cyclists, hikers and so on—has finally hit the equestrian market full force. Manufacturers such as Ariat, FITS, Kerrits and TuffRider are using Coolmax or similar self-wicking fabrics for summer shirts. The trend toward lightweight, stretchy summer riding tights continues with Kerrits, Irideon and Devon-Aire offering both knee patch and full seat options. Coolmax fabrics even wend their way into socks and gloves such as the Heritage Summer Trainer Glove. But it doesn’t end there: I tested the SamShield ventilated helmet at the recent American Equestrian Trade Association (AETA) Expo, and was amazed at the airflow and lean profile, both reminiscent of a racing cyclist’s helmet.
On the Western side, denim jeans remain de rigueur: Wrangler, Ariat, Cowgirl Tuff and B Tuff offer great cut plus a bit of stretch. For shirts, look to Wrangler’s “Relentless by Trevor Brazile” collection and some of the technical fabrics by Outback Trading Company…or go to the source, as I do, and simply wear a fishing shirt: I like the Omni-Freeze Ice active cooling technology shirts from Columbia Sportswear.
For summer headwear, the SunBody palm leaf hats are great. Mine is a palm-leaf “Gus” with a terry/elastic sweatband, easily reshaped by dunking the brim (not the crown, please!) in water. Best of all, SunBody Guatamalan palms are certified for cancer protection, with a rating of UPF 50+. English or Western (www.sunbody.com). Top off your summer ensemble with the Cool Medics cooling vest of your choice and a Frog Toggs Chilly Pad or Chilly Dana (as in bandana) around your neck! Check out www.froggtoggs.com/?cooling for more information.
With Ebert’s help, we selected some great summer fashions for you. Happy shopping and happy riding!
1. Cowgirl Tuff Women’s Jean: Don’t Fence Me In; MSRP $74.50; www.cowgirltuff.com
This is a medium denim shade that hides the dirt, but on hot days, the color’s not too dark. It is basic, which is nice for riding, so the embellishments don’t get caught on the saddle and rub, but cute enough to go out at night. This jean is really comfortable to ride in, with great longer lengths.
Cowgirl Tuff Crystal Wash Tee in Turquoise; MSRP: $35; www.cowgirltuff.com
You can always find basic tees, but these fit great, are lightweight with flash and color plus designs to dress them up more than your average tee. This short-sleeved tee is v-neck, but check out the round neck design at MSRP $45 and long-sleeved styles at $85 with zip hoods for unpredictable weather.
2. Wrangler Western Wear Collection: The Ultimate Riding Jean in Style Shiloh; MSRP $52; www.wranglerwestern.com
When Wrangler set out to create a jean with in-the-saddle function and out-on-the-town fashion, the leading western wear brand went to the source: the women of AQHA. Together they designed The Ultimate Riding Jean available in three styles: Cash, Q-Baby and Shiloh. The Shiloh jean features a low rise, no-gap waistband and flat comfort seams. It comes in Rodeo Sparkle wash of 80 percent cotton, 18 percent polyester and 2 percent Spandex.
1. Ariat Brittany Women’s Polo Shirt; MSRP: $42.50; www.ariat.com
The Brittany Polo earns its stripes for bright color and Ariat team spirit, says the company. Tailored from comfortable cotton jersey with contrast diagonal panels, this knit features a woven collar, logo detailing and hidden placket.
2. JPC Equestrian’s Equine Couture Champion Coolmax Women’s Front Zip Breeches; MSRP: $79.95; www.jpcequestrian.com
The Coolmax Champion Front Zip Breeches in “Safari” color feature taupe contrasting knee patches and the popular CS2 bottom for a comfortable fit in your field boot. The material allows for easy movement and wicks away moisture on days when you have to ride and work in the sun.
JPC’s TuffRider Coolmax Pro Men’s Breeches; MSRP $99.95; www.jpcequestrian.com
These guys’ breeches, also in Safari, are made with an innovative, durable fabric that combines Coolmax microfiber and Lycra. They offer ideal performance while keeping men comfortable in the saddle.
3. FITS (Fun in the Saddle) Original FITS PerforMAX All Season Women’s Full Seat Breech; MSRP from $248; www.FITSriding.com
Eventers and dressage trainers alike love this breech in summer. FITS full seats feature segmented leather panels for maximum range of motion without restriction, so they spread your seat bones for a deeper, more secure position in the saddle. You’ll like an athletic gusseted, leather-free crotch with no center seam and patented Powernet 4-way stretch ab panel wraps, Body Sculpt fabrics and garment engineering so breeches fit like a second skin.
4. Kerrits Ice Fil Women’s Long-sleeve Shirt; MSRP $69; www.kerrits.com
You’ll be hearing a lot about the new wonder fabric, Ice Fil (sometimes spelled differently by different clothing manufacturers). It’s “cool.” Kerrits puts it to work in shirts available in tank, short sleeve and long-sleeve styles. Kerrits’ Ice Fil tops offer UV 40 sun protection and are anti-bacterial, moisture-absorbing and fast-drying with two-way circulation. All designs include Ice Fil mesh siding for additional ventilation where riders need it most.
5. Outback Trading Company Ladies’ Shirt with Outback Ice; MSRP: women’s $34; men’s $38; www.outbacktrading.com
The company explains that its Outback Ice fabric (its version of Icefil) is infused with xylitol, a chewing gum ingredient that cools your mouth. As your body heats up, the Outback Ice can cool it down by three degrees. Outback Ice is offered to men in one style for 2012, a-three button polo. For ladies, it’s styled in a polo, V-neck and ¼-zip long sleeve.
Enjoy the summer and keep cool!