Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.
Have you ever taken one of those random quizzes — something that is supposed to give you a “deeper insight” into your personality? Or tell you which movie character you are? They are ALL OVER social media at this point. Not a day goes by that I can scroll down my newsfeed without seeing one of my friend’s quiz results.
Before the time of the social media “I want to take a quiz and share the results with everyone that I’ve ever met in my whole ENTIRE LIFE” trend, these quizzes already existed in print. I remember back to the days when the “cool” thing in middle school was to read Teen or Seventeen magazine. And there were always a bunch of quizzes that seemed totally awesome at the time (but were really kind of silly … or rather, utterly ridiculous).
One of the more memorable teen magazine questionnaires that seemed to pop up year after year was the “What season are you?” quiz. And I’ll just put it this way … my result never showed that I was a winter. Not even once. Because cold weather and I are not now and have never been BFFs.
So it should be no surprise when I saw that I’m definitely not a huge fan of cold weather riding. That being said though, I’ll absolutely take any time in the saddle that I can get. Cold. Windy. Snowing — whatever Mother Nature decides to dish out, I just try to gear up enough to tolerate it. Though in my mind, I’m always out riding on one of those picturesque sunny and 75 degree day (hey, it’s my mind).
Riding during fall and winter brings a unique set of challenges, which are something that I’ve oh so originally decided to call “cold weather rider problems.” Not that the weather gets too extreme in the Mid-Atlantic region. Well, except during last winter’s Polar Vortex. But we just are NOT going talk about that.
Something that I feel like I can’t possibly do is have too many pieces in my collection of outerwear — because that is certainly a good way to start combating the cold weather rider problems. I personally like pieces are lightweight and good for layered — and can just as easily be worn out to the barn or out on the town. So the watch word is versatile.
One of the new pieces of outerwear that I’ve tried out this season has been the Highland Waterproof Jacket from Ariat. I’ve worn it out to the barn, to work, out shopping, when going out to lunch, out riding — basically everywhere and anywhere. And I’ve found it to be a versatile piece, indeed.
The Highland Waterproof Jacket comes in a color called Coffee Bean Heather, which is really a lovely combination of brown with deep aqua blue trim. And the brown has an attractive “brushed” look to it, rather than just being a solid color. The jacket also has an attractive Ariat logo embroidered in deep aqua blue along the left sleeve and also on the back near the bottom hem on the right side.
The Highland is also a waterproof and breathable jacket that stretches, which I could feel from the very first time that I tried it on. And the stretch is subtle, but definitely noticeable. The Highland Jacket also features Ariat’s V3 Fit system, which combined with the stretch fabric allows me to have a nice and comfortable range of movement while wearing the jacket.
The Highland Jacket features a two-way zipper up the front, as well as a flap that snaps over it to keep the zipper from view (and even protect it from the elements). And it also features two side pockets that zip shut, as well as one on the left chest. All zippers are a deep aqua blue color, and they are coated in order to be waterproof. What’s more are the little details — the zipper pulls are actually small stirrup irons!
The inside lining of the Highland Jacket is also the same shade of deep aqua blue, and it has a quilted look to it. And the collar of the jacket also features an aqua blue soft and stretchy sweater-like material that acts as a lining to the outer waterproof part. The sleeves of the Highland Jacket are adjustable and also include inside stretchy cuffs to help keep the elements (and hay) out.
But one of my favorite features of the Highland Jacket helps to address one of the cold weather rider problems that is pretty high up on my list. And that would be the fact that my face and ears get terribly cold when I’m riding on frigid and windy conditions. So just what is the feature that can help my ears to laugh at the wind? Why that would be the hood, of course.
I am personally a big fan of the oversized hood of the Highland Jacket. The hood is removable through unfastening a series of snaps and Velcro. And it also can be adjusted two ways, but that’s not why it is one of my favorite features of the Highland Jacket. What I really like is the fact that the oversized hood can nicely fit right over my riding helmet.
In the saddle and around the barn, the Highland Jacket keeps me warm and comfortable. The weight of the jacket isn’t overly heavy, yet the Thermore synthetic insulation helps to deliver warmth without excessive bulk. And the sizing of the coat seems to run true for me. I wear my normal size, and the cut looks very flattering. Yet, the jacket is not overly fitted, and I still have enough space to layer a long sleeve shirt and softshell jacket or hoodie under it.
When I am about the head out for a ride, I also can easily un-zip the two saddle vents on the back of the coat. This gives me the extra space and mobility that I need in the saddle. I also find that when I pull the oversize hood up over my helmet, the fit works really well. And the hood covers my ears, but stays back far enough on my face that I don’t feel like I lose too much of my peripheral vision.
Even when I’m out in wet conditions, I still feel like I stay warm and dry enough while wearing the Highland Jacket. Plus, since the jacket is also breathable, I feel like I don’t get too sweaty while wearing it. The jacket can be hand washed or machine washed on the delicate cycle using a mild detergent. I also find that I like the darker brown color, because it does a great job at hiding horse slobber that I pick up!
So I’m definitely looking forward to wearing the Highland Waterproof Jacket during the fall and into the winter as well. Even if I’m not actually looking forward to the cold weather rider problems of the season. But what I do know is that my ears have been very grateful to the oversized hood of the Highland Jacket that fits over my helmet, so that’s one less problem I have to worry about.
The Highland Waterproof Jacket from Ariat retails for $189.95, and you can check it out here.
Go Oversized Helmet-Fitting Hoods. Go Ariat. Go Eventing.