Monday Morning Feed from SmartPak

Can the Sunshield Long Sleeve Shirt by SmartPak survive the brutal conditions of a local hunter/jumper show on one of the hottest days of the year? We put it to the test.

When SmartPak sent me one of its Sunshield Long Sleeve Shirts to review, I wracked my brain trying to think of the most intense conditions in which to test it. Sahara Desert? Cliché. The inside of a volcano? Not practical. Then it came to me: a midsummer hunter/jumper show.

Few places on earth are hotter and more miserable than your local midsummer hunter/jumper show. You stand around the in-gate for hours, awaiting your precious turn to leap small obstacles on a horse that doesn’t understand why it’s not inside napping in front of a fan.

Meanwhile, the sun is beating down on you, and it seems to be growing hotter by the moment.

Finally, it’s your turn to go, and you panic: Is the course “outside, inside, outside, inside” or “inside, outside, inside, outside”? It’s like the heat has melted your brain.

You glance around for your trainer and spot her in the truck, playing Angry Birds in the air-conditioning. Oh well–here goes nothing.

Round and round you go, finally finishing to the sound of a few half-hearted golf claps. Was it good? Was it bad? Who cares. You’re just glad to be done.

…Until your next class. Or until you die of heatstroke–whichever comes first.

Sorry, do I sound a little cranky?

So SmartPak sends me this shirt, and I decide I’m going to wear it to the local hunter/jumper show.

Truthfully, I’m a little apprehensive. The weather forcast is calling for highs in the upper 90s and, like, a thousand percent humidity. Is wearing a long-sleeve shirt really that great an idea?

But then I try it on and it’s super-cute and comfortable and lightweight–maybe it could work. Plus, I read that the shirt’s Australian Versatex material has a UPF rating of 50+ and protects your skin from 90% of harmful UV rays. I love the idea of leaving my sunscreen at home.

My pick is the bright royal blue because it goes perfectly with my favorite colors…

…but the shirts also come in white and silver.

Horse show, here we come!

Immediately, I can tell a difference between this shirt and my usual polo or cotton show shirt. Instead of trapping sweat, it seems to deflect heat in the first place and wick moisture away from my skin. Plus, I feel great about the fact that my fair skin is being protected–goodbye, farmer’s tan and glove lines! The athletic fit is flattering, and I appreciate the fact that it’s a little longer in the back than in the front so nothing comes untucked when you stretch down and forward over jumps.

Bonus points: I love clothes that I can wear from the barn to the grocery store or out for a run without getting any funny looks–this shirt is definitely capable of passing back and forth between horse-world and real-life with ease. I have no intentions of putting it away for the winter, either; add a sweatshirt or jacket and you’re good to go.

All things considered, I highly recommend the Sunshield Long Sleeve Shirt by SmartPak to anyone who is in the market for a great technical riding shirt. If it can make a midsummer hunter/jumper show less excruciating, it gets a big thumbs-up from me!

Learn more about the Sunshield Long Sleeve Shirt and read other reviews here.

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