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.
After my very first day of cross country schooling, I experienced a sort of gravitational pull towards eventing. And there was no escaping it. While I wouldn’t really consider myself an adrenaline junkie or anything, there is really no feeling in the world like galloping across fields, up and down hills, and soaring over obstacles.
For me personally, I feel a sense of complete freedom when I’m on a cross country course. In that short run, it’s all about me and my horse. And so I get in my zone and tune everything else and lose myself in the experience. The wind blows through my horse’s mane and against my face – and the only thing I hear is my horse’s breathing and the beat of his hooves.
Maybe I’m being idealistic here, but to me, riding cross country represents freedom (though I’ve always been content with just having fun and have never faced any courses that I classify as “too scary”). I suspect that riding XC can hold different meaning for different riders. Maybe it means cowboy-ing up and showing that course who’s boss. Or maybe some folks just love the total rush that comes along with navigating a technically difficult course.
When I picked out my own cross country colors, I put a lot of thought into the decision. Perhaps too much. But I felt that not only are colors a way to have fun, but they also offer riders a great way to express themselves while on course. Of course, I gravitated towards my favorite colors—but I just wasn’t thrilled. So then I thought about what I wanted to say with my XC attire, and the choice just became obvious. That’s why my colors are Red. White. And Blue.
So after picking my colors, of course the next order of business was to try to find every type of matching piece of riding apparel and gear for my horse possible. And whenever I’d go shopping to look for any new gear, I totally went for anything red, white OR blue. And if something actually was red, white AND blue – I dove on it and held on with my very best kung-fu grip.
A little earlier this year, I first became familiar with the brand Equetech, and their line of equestrian apparel. My interest was piqued when I learned that Equetech was set to unveil a brand new feature on their website called the Design Lab. Since I’m a bit of a freak about custom anything, I could only entertain the possibilities of what such a tool could allow you to accomplish.
When I found out that the Design Lab feature allows riders to design their own Custom Unisex Cross Country Shirts, I’ll admit that I got a little excited. Like let-out-a-mini-shriek-and-then-run-around-flailing kind of excited. Riders are able to start with a white (or black) shirt made out of technical fabric, and then choose their colors, design pattern, and can even add text to the back of the shirt. And, if you feel so inclined, you can even design a matching custom helmet cover as well.
I quite possibly had a little too much fun playing with the Design Lab feature myself – it was pretty neat to take a look at all of the different color and pattern options together! Riders are able to pick from 4 different design patterns for the shirt sleeves—stripes, stars, hearts, or polka dots. And after picking the design, you can pick up to two colors, from a selection of 14 that are available – so you can imagine all of the choices available.
So when I found out that I had the chance to try out a Custom Cross Country Shirt from Equetech, I was definitely looking forward it. I’m sure you can probably guess which colors I picked. And I used the Equetech guide in order to select the proper size. I feel like it is terrific that the Custom Cross Country Shirt is available in a unisex style, so that both men and women can enjoy creating their own shirt – I just felt like it was really important to make sure that I followed the reference guide available, to make sure that I got the right size for me.
On the day that the Equetech Custom Cross Country Shirt arrived, I was ready to tear into the packaging. And so I did. When I pulled out the shirt (that I helped design—well, the colors and pattern anyway!), I liked how smooth and substantial the fabric felt. Even though it is white in color, it did not give me the impression that it would be overly sheer when worn.
The colors appeared quite brilliantly on the shirt itself. I select the striped design pattern in—you guess it—blue and red. The stripes were pretty substantial feeling as well, and the custom printing definitely had a feel of quality to it, in my opinion. And the shirt is made in the UK!
The shirt has a quarter zip front, and it is made out of a stretchy feeling material, that is actually a fast-drying, high performance fabric. The back of the collar also is able to accommodate a stock tie, should the rider prefer to wear one. I also do like that the seams of the shirt at flat, and that the back has a bit of a scooped hemline.
When I tried on the shirt, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the unisex style worked for me. It offered me more of a relaxed fit, without being too baggy – and again, I definitely was glad that I took the time to check the size chart. I also liked that the shirt was definitely not sheer. The material was substantial enough that I did not feel the need to wear a camisole underneath.
So while the shirt looked snazzy on, I couldn’t wait to get my XC vest on over it—because after all, that is really the look that it is meant to complete. And my protective vest zipped up nicely over the Custom Cross Country Shirt.
When I get dressed up to go riding in the Custom Cross Country Shirt, of course I’ve been getting Ripley all decked out in his colors too – and let me just say that the shirt just helps to add something extra to my set of gear and attire. It feels great to be able to choose my own pattern and colors, because it is unique to ME.
Even after riding on particularly warm days, I found that I did not get too overheated while wearing the Custom Cross Country Shirt. While the shirt itself did get damp from me sweating glistening, it did a nice job at pulling it away from my skin. And once I took my vest off, the fabric did start to dry at a nice pace.
Go Custom Colors for XC Day. Go Equetech. Go Eventing.