[Insert Your Favorite Color Here] Is the New Black: Your Guide to the Riding Jacket Revolution
Ever since I spotted Finnish eventer Sanna Siltakorpi rocking a hot-pink coat at WEG, there’s been one thing on my brain: I. NEED. THAT.
If you know me, you know that I love living out on the edge when it comes to fashion. Unfortunately, in the equestrian world “the edge” is a pretty boring place.
In hunterland looking boring kind of makes sense — you want the focus to be on your horse’s snappy knees, not your radioactive-purple riding jacket. I’m primarily an eventer, and considering the fact that we can pretty much wear whatever the heck we please cross-country, you would think some of that freedom of expression would trickle over into the dressage and show jumping phases. Nope! I do what I can, blinding dressage judges with my “outrageous” hunter green jacket and horrifying fellow competitors with my royal blue patent leather open front boots, but for the most part we have to play our cards pretty close to the chest.
So you can imagine my delight when 27-year-old Finnish eventer Sanna Siltakorpi came trotting into the main arena on show jumping day at WEG in a hot-pink coat, blinged-out helmet and purple stirrups. I mean, world championship competition is not generally a time when riders let their fashion freak flag fly. Pinque coats, yes; pink coats, not so much.
But Sanna is a classic case of #cantstopwontstop. I stalked her a little bit online and it appears that pink is a recurring theme in the girl’s life — her cross-country helmet cover has big pink stars and a pink pompom, and a photo on the homepage of her website shows her rocking some fuchsia breeches. I guess since Finland did not field a team, she was like, “What the heck, I’m gonna do me.”
A couple more photos of Sanna, international equestrian fashion hero, looking pinktastic:Since trolling the Internet all day for cool horse stuff is basically my job description, one of the first things I did when I got home from France was assemble my own Sanna-inspired virtual outfit. Not that I can actually wear it — the USEA rulebook is pretty clear about all jackets being dark-colored or tweed — but it’s nice to dream!
Top row: Animo Leon Jacket, $642 from Animo; Alexis Riding Top by SmartPak, $79.95 from SmartPak; Lorenzini Original Aluminum/Titanium Stirrups in Purple, $265.95 from SmartPak. Bottom Row: Sox Trot Socks in Rae, $8.95 from SmartPak; Tredstep Symphony No. 1 Argenta Full Seat Breech, $229.95 from SmartPak; Custom Samshield Helmet in Pink Flower Swarovski, $1,418 from Samshield.
When I was digging around for pink riding jackets I stumbled across several more riding-jackets-of-a-different-color. And I’m not talking about $2,000 custom coats, either — these are totally off the rack. The jumper world has pretty much liberated itself from the conservative, George Morris-approved dress code of yesteryear, with Europe leading the movement. So it makes sense that the equestrian apparel industry is stepping up to satisfy demand.
Bonus: Goodbye, hot wool coats that grab your shoulders every time you release over a jump. Goodbye hauling your jacket to the dry cleaners every time a horse slobbers on you. The latest riding jackets are made of stretchy, breathable, low-maintenance technical fabrics.
A few brands that are leading the charge:
Animo Italia, maker of Sanna’s jacket, is definitely one of the most fashion-forward equestrian apparel companies out there. I mean, seriously, just watch this promotional spot:
The jackets are on the pricy end of the spectrum but Animo really is top-quality stuff. They jackets are made of a super-elastic, breathable fabric that has silver woven into it, ions from which prevent the growth of bacteria. They’re also machine-washable… whaaa?!?!?!
This Australian company strikes me as a less-pricey version of Animo. The jackets are stretchy, figure-flattering, moisture-wicking and, most importantly, available in amazing colors!
Equiport Equestrian Supplies
These British-made jackets are the whole package: hard-wearing, waterproof, breathable, stretchy and machine-washable, with all the little details that make fashionista hearts flutter like diamante piping and Swarovski crystal buttons.
Yep, lavender. I know for a fact that some of you out there are losing your minds right now. Deep breaths, people. I think this one is my favorite…
Not quite ready to swan dive into the equestrian fashion deep-end? It’s possible to be unique without completely abandoning your sense of respect for show ring tradition. Pikeur is a master at jazzing coats up with contemporary details like zip pockets and embossed buttons.
Price doesn’t have to be a sticking point, either. We’re in love with this Horseware Competition Jacket, which boasts features comparable to the highest-end show coats on the market at a fraction of the price — it’s available from SmartPak for $99, no kidding. Its lightweight shell is breathable and stretchy, freeing you to perform at your best, and did we mention that it’s machine washable?
All of which is to say, when it comes to riding coats, the future is NOW. Check with your sport’s rulebook to see what is legal, and then start pushing that envelope!
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