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