Monday, February 16, 2015

Steal of a Deal - Technical Fabric Show Coats - Part 1 - Hunters and Equitation

Guess what? Show season is coming soon! We're midway through February, WEF is in full swing and the rest of us are almost finished dealing with ice and snow. Daylight saving starts March 8th so more sunshine and warmer weather are right around the corner. (My weather app says -10 right now so I'm really working on this staying positive stuff.)  So while you're checking your calendar and planning your show season you might want to take a look at your closet.  If you're in need of a show coat upgrade, no matter what ring you ride in, I'll make sure you're covered in this three part series.

Hunters and Equitation (and jumpers, and eventing, and dressage)

Show coats like many other equestrian items can cost a little or a whole lot. You have trendy, traditional, plain, herringbone, pinstripe and windowpanes to choose from and then you have to make sure that they fit. Different brands have different cuts, linings, and even stretch panels but if you’re stepping into the schooling show ring for the first time or you’re looking for something to keep you comfortable on days where the temperatures and humidity keep climbing start with a tech fabric. Tech fabrics are a bit of an obsession for me. They can be thrown in the washing machine, don’t wrinkle, are lightweight, and are generally inexpensive. Over the next three weeks we’re going to take a look at my picks for low level hunters and equitation, eventing & jumpers, and dressage.

Kerrits Competitors Koat
We’ll start with the most understated coat in the group, the Kerrits Competitors Koat in black. I know, I know, Kerrits is not the most traditional brand and is often passed over by hunter and equitation riders and that’s too bad because this jacket is really awesome. You have the traditional dark three button front, tapered waist, and stylish short length that is becoming the norm. This coat has a hidden zipper which is great because you won’t have gaps where your shirt peeks through between buttons. This coat is made of a four way stretch fabric with a twill backing that is water and stain resistant. Oh, and you won’t pay more than $120.00 for it. Now, this coat also comes in a black version with white piping which I would not recommend for the hunter or equitation rings because the contrast could be considered too distracting. But that’s exactly why it’s fine for eventing and dressage too. If you’re experimenting with what ring to ride in this coat will take you through all of them, again for $120.00. The all black coat is available from Dover Saddlery. The black and white coat you can get from Dover, SmartPak, Stateline Tack, and most of the other online shops.

Kerrits Competitors Koat in all black from Dover Saddlery
Kerrits Competitors Koat in black with white piping from Dover, SmartPak and most online retailers.
Kerrits has also rolled out two new colors with white piping for 2015. You can now get this jacket in a lovely Indigo blue or a soft grey called "Shale". I'd recommend these colors more for the eventers or jumpers but again, the basic black coat will take you through every ring.

Kerrits Koat in Indigo

The FITS Zephyr II Show Coat

Got a little more room in your budget for show season?  Wanna see something really freaking amazing?  

Look under her left arm. See that the entire coat is mesh? 

Now look at the same coat buttoned up and ready to show.  It's totally opaque!

This is the FITS Zephyr II show coat that's the hunter and equitation cousin to the original Zephyr coat. (I'll be talking about the original Zephyr for the dressage portion of this series.) This coat is the entire reason I'm obsessed with tech fabrics. You have a beautifully tailored garment that gives you every bit of tradition required by our sport while respecting the fact that riders are athletes that sweat. This coat also gives you the traditional 3 solid color button front, double vent back, and the detail I really like on this coat is you get to keep a bit more length than some of the Italian designed short coats on the market. I have not tried the Zephyr II on myself but I have tried on the original Zephyr and I can tell you it's beautiful, weightless, breathable, and figure flattering. This coat will run about $300.00 from most distributors and can be ordered from SmartPak, and Equestrian Collections.  I would expect more tack stores to pick up this coat as the season marches forward since the original Zephyr is so widely available. 

Next week I'll feature my favorite tech fabric show coat for riders that prefer the jumper and eventing rings. Until then, happy riding!

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