The Softshell Show Coat Conundrum

It is no secret that technical fabric show coats are all the rage in the equestrian world lately. Gone are the days of wool hunt coats with green-beige breeches, now is the time for softshell jackets and euroseats.

To be honest, I wasn’t really a big fan of the new coats when they first started turning up in the show ring. I liked the idea of a lower-maintenance coat that had a more modern feel, but wasn’t ready to stray from the traditional wool. I thought the technical fabrics looked too plastic-y, the four buttons were too dressage-y, and the style was too unlike what had always been. Add all that to the hefty price tag and I was not interested.

The Softshell Show Coat Conundrum began when my mother found the Kerrits Competitors Koat in black on sale. This coat fit my awkward body great and I loved the hidden zipper, but that is where the good things ended. The fabric was strange and felt a bit like a soft plastic tarp, the coat came with white piping which was not listed in the description (great for jumpers, not so great for equitation), and the zipper was broken. When we tried to exchange it, the coat was no longer available.

Next came the Horseware Competition Jacket in black. I originally preferred the navy but after reading reviews, it seemed as though the navy was more like a dark powder blue so I played it safe with the black. There wasn’t much to like about this coat other than the price, but you get what you pay for. The lining of this coat is a bright red, not ideal for the equitation, and has zippered pockets with zipper pulls that swing around throughout your ride like, and I directly quote a team member, “nipple tassels.” (Yes, you read that right.) The fabric was more similar to that of a windbreaker and made an unpleasant woosh-ing sound every time you moved, the buttons were set pretty far apart and low on the coat, so they bunched up funny when I was mounted and made me look like there were chub rolls where chub rolls were not, and the single vent was far from flattering. Basically, this coat was returned a week later.

Horseware Competition Jacket


Coat number three was the Equine Couture Raleigh Soft Shell Hunt Coat in black. If I had to pick between these three coats, this would have been the winner. The fabric was more like a normal show coat but with a lot of stretch and the styling was very traditional. Similar to the Horseware coat, this one had the buttons set a little too low, creating an awkward appearance when in the saddle. My biggest problem with this coat was the fit. It fit my body perfectly, but the arms were at least four inches too long and had zippers that didn’t allow for smooth tailoring. I kept this coat for a bit and was planning on just finding a way to fix the arms when…

I found coat number four at the SmartPak dot sale. The RJ Classics Washington Xtreme Soft Shell Show Coat was sitting in the attic waiting for me to welcome it into my closet. I will be doing a more in depth review of this coat soon, so I am going to keep it short and sweet. I love this coat. It fits me impeccably, is amazingly comfortable, and has officially converted me over to the soft shell side.

RJ Classics Washington Xtreme Soft Shell Show Coat


How do you feel about the new technical fabric coats? Do you have a favorite one or are you sticking to the traditional styles? 


Published by Terisé

• New England Equestrian Blogger • • Photographer • • Editor •

18 thoughts on “The Softshell Show Coat Conundrum

  1. I actually purchased the Kerrits Koat, and Riding Warehouse definitely mentioned (and showed on their website) that there was a solid black option, as well as a black option with the white piping. The white piping is a large reason that I really like this coat! Sorry you weren’t impressed :-/


    1. I did like the white piping and found it to be a classy way to add some flair in the ring, but flair is typically frowned upon in the equitation ring and I didn’t want to push it. If I was doing jumpers and the zipper wasn’t broken, I probably would have kept the coat with the piping. I hope you have good luck with yours!


      1. Thanks, I hope so too! I actually did a pretty thorough review of the Kerrits Koat on my blog, the post is called “Ladies and Gentlemen, We (May) Have a Winner.” Good luck in your search 🙂


  2. RJ Classics all the way! I had to buy a new coat after 10 years away from the show ring, and was totally baffled by all these new fabrics. Luckily someone mentioned the phrase “soft shell” to me so the woman at the tack store could interpret what I needed. My RJ Washington Xtreme fits like a glove and still has the classic three button look. Big improvement over my old wool plaid jackets from a decade ago!


      1. Hmm, maybe it is the Monterey, I’ve only got the three. Sometimes I wish I had gotten a little more daring (I come from an eq background so for me, four buttons is daring), but for the little local shows I’ll be doing the classic styling works perfectly.


  3. I like soft shells,but I’m waiting for the right coat. I want something jumpery but reasonably priced and in my size… which so far hasn’t happened.


  4. I love the newer style coats. I do the jumpers and for a while didn’t need a coat as I wasn’t quite ready to do the money classes but when I was ready I saved up and splurged on a navy Animo. I absolutely love it. It’s super comfy, breathable, fits me like a gloves AND I can move freely in it. It has a hidden zipper and snap buttons which is nice too.

    Needless to say I’m a huge fan of them. I’ve also tried on a Spooks jacket, after Id already gotten my Animo, and I liked the fit of that as well. I may get a Spooks later this year.


  5. I’ve wondered about these coats. I just have my basic/boring navyish jacket from many years ago. I saw some jackets either online or at a store and I believe it said they were machine washable. Now that’s progress!


  6. I love my soft shell jacket. I like the give in the fabric that you don’t get with wool coats – and also, if I can avoid wearing wool in the heat of the summer, I’m all for it! The washability-factor is awesome too. Last summer I came off and landed in a poo pile, so I was very happy that I could get cleaned up easily.


  7. glad you found one that works! i’ve been interested – but the price tag has kept me at bay – esp when i have three perfectly serviceable coats already (including a navy wool RJ that i got for a song from TotD last year and loooooove)


  8. I just got a semi-traditional (not wool but not softshell) dressage coat from RJ classics on super sale. Next new coat will have to be on super sale as well


  9. I can’t wait for your full review of the RJ Xtreme… I’m considering one myself! I currently have an Irideon Kismet, which I ADORE — it changed my view on tech fabric 180 degree!


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