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? While browsing for gear is fun, sometimes it’s just overwhelming to search through all of the products that are available for you and your horse. Companies featured in my posts have very generously provided me with their products, so that I may try them out and share my own experiences with all of you! Of course, every horse and rider is a unique individual, so each product may perform differently for you and your horse then it does for me—after all, different things work for different people (and horses!), and that is all part of the variety of life! This column is meant only for me to recount my personal journey, and share my own and my horse’s experiences with all of the exciting products featured. While I make no recommendations, I hope that you have fun and find entertainment while reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences might help give you factors to consider when you are on your own quest for new gear!
The start of a new season is always an exciting time; with Spring especially, everything is starting to come back to life again. Flowers start coming up. Trees are starting to get their leaves back. Birds return after a cold weather to chirp and chatter. And it’s time to start packing away my cold weather riding gear in favor of attire better suited for the moderate temperatures. Not only am I happy to say farewell to the bitter cold, but I am also excited to see brighter colors, and maybe even some floral patterns here and there. While it’s not quite warm enough to start riding in tanks and tees, long sleeve base layers, paired with soft shell jackets on cooler days, become a staple in my wardrobe at this point of the year.
Keeping in time with my Spring wardrobe, I recently had the opportunity to try out Noble Outfitter’s (formerly Noble Equine) Josie Quarter Zip Mock long sleeve shirt. While I tried the Josie Quarter Zip Mock in the Heather Grey color (which has a snappy looking zipper in a bright orange contrast…if you’ve been following along with my product review series, it may be coming increasingly apparent that I’m a fan of bright colors; or orange, more specifically). When I first picked up the shirt, I noticed that the material felt especially smooth to the touch. I also found that the Josie Quarter Zip Mock is labeled as being UPF 50. Honestly, I had no clue what this meant at first; after a little research, I found that this indicates that the top has an ultraviolet protection rating of 50 plus, which is the highest rating that can be given to clothing at the current time. This equates to the fabric of the shirt being able to block 98% of the sun’s rays. Considering how much time I spend in the sun (and how easy it is to forget to apply sunscreen), a little UV protection is certainly always a welcome feature of my riding apparel!
When I pulled the Josie Quarter Zip Mock on for the first time, I again couldn’t help but notice the smooth feel of the fabric. It felt nice and fitted while being slightly stretchy (which is my personal preference), without being too constricting. The shirt seemed to run true to size, as my usual size fit me well. I also took note of the small sleeve of fabric at the top of the zipper, which allows the zipper tab to be hidden after it is pulled up. There are also two reflective logos on the Josie Quarter Zip Mock–one on the back between the shoulder blades, and the other on the left sleeve (on the forearm).
I found that the Josie Quarter Zip Mock performed well for me both in the saddle. One huge plus for me was the sleeve length. I am five-foot-nine, with long arms, so one of the problems that I tend to face when looking for new clothing is that sleeves tend to run short on me. The sleeves on the Noble’s Josie top? Totally long enough for even my long arms! And, they even include thumb holes for you to help keep your sleeves in place. Another feature that I liked was the slightly longer back hem; I tend to like to school without tucking my shirts in, and the dropped back hem just made the top more comfortable for me. I never got the sensation that the top tried to ride up during my ride. The weight of the fabric works nicely for cool Spring days, but could also work during colder weather as well if used as a base layer.
Not only did the top come along for the ride, but I also have worn it while getting my barn chores done as well. The smooth fabric definitely makes it easy to brush off hay (now, only if I could get it to brush out of my hair that easily as well). The other big plus for me is that I tend to…well, let’s just say I throw myself into my work so much that I end up “glistening”. That is the lady-like term, correct? Anyway, even after a ride and barn chores, the Josie Quarter Zip Mock wicked away moisture to help me stay perfectly dry (no “glisten” spots to be found).
I would consider the Josie Quarter Zip Mock to be a great three season piece – ideal for Spring and Fall temperatures, and nice for use as a base layer during truly cold time periods. I imagine that the hottest part of the Summer would be a little warm for long sleeves; however, if you are able to opt for long sleeves when the temperature is not too brutal, Noble Outfitter’s Josie top can offer you the highest rated ultraviolet protection that can currently be bestowed upon clothing. With a retail price of $44.99, the Josie Quarter Zip Mock is an affordable, mid-range long sleeve riding shirt that looks sharp, and feels comfortable when being worn. Especially for us tall, long-armed gals who are usually so self-conscious about too short sleeves.
Go UV Protection (especially for those of use with long arms!). Go Noble Outfitters. Go Eventing.