Review: Arctic Horse Outlander Wool Skirt

Despite growing up in the frigid North, I am a pansy about being cold. I still prefer it to being over heated because you can *almost* always put on more layers – you can’t always take them off – but I still don’t like it unless being cold means I can curl up in front of the fire in sweatpants with a good book. When it comes to riding, I have tried just about everything and have come to the conclusion that I just don’t like riding in bad weather. And right now the whole country is stuck with bad weather!

So when I saw an ad on Facebook for Arctic Horse’s winter riding skirts (sitting in the bath tub trying to warm up after doing trot sets in a downpour), I was intrigued with the concept. The idea behind it made a lot of sense. Much like mittens versus gloves, the skirt helps heat the air around you to keep you warm. It also works as a quarter sheet and traps the heat coming off your horse. Simple enough right?

But does it actually work?

Obviously I had to find out.

Arctic Horse has several different versions of their skirts from fully insulated snow skirts to mesh lined rain skirts. Since I live in the South now, which is *supposed* to be warm, I settled on the Wool Outlander Skirt and the mesh lined Tongass Rain Skirt. I figured the Outlander Skirt would be the right amount of warmth for Georgia winters and the Tongass Rain Skirt would be good for those spring and fall days where the rain just wouldn’t stop but it was still warm out.

Well, we were having an unseasonably long and warm fall so I was kind of worried I wouldn’t be able to use my skirt at all but along with the box came the arctic temperatures. Winter had arrived. So I buckled the Outlander skirt on over my winter breeches and headed out for my lesson.

And I honestly haven’t wanted to take it off since!

At first it was hard to tell if I felt warmer while tacking up Gus, but as soon as I buckled up the sides to put my boots on, I realized how much warmer having the skirt around me was. It really had kept the air around my legs warm! I also stayed nice and toasty during my rides (though I usually take it off once my lesson starts so that my trainer can see my position… and then she steals the skirt!). And then when I dismounted and found that I could still feel my feet and I didn’t get that painful sensation of landing on frozen toes (I’m not the only one right?) I knew this skirt was a winner.

While I’ve only been riding in the Outlander, I did bring the Tongass out with me for the winter photo shoot. Even though the Currant color has mesh lining versus fleece and is basically just an outer shell it kept the wind out so well that I barely noticed the cold.

And if staying warm and dry is not enough, the care put into the design of these skirts is amazing. The pockets are deep, zippered and fleece lined! That was a nice little surprise. There are also snaps that you can use to pull the flaps up to mount – a very handy feature! – and straps to secure the skirt around your leg if you are feeling like you need a good gallop – though I’ve cantered without the straps and the Outlander, at least, is heavy enough to stay in place while moving.

While these skirts are a little pricey for something purchased on a whim (I purchased the Outlander Wool for $299) so far it has been worth every penny.

I’ll do another review once I’ve had a chance to use the Tongass skirt more but if my experience is anything like what I’ve had with the Outlander, I don’t expect it will be anything but glowing praise.

Best Photos of 2017

I was blessed with so many good photos this year. Beyond blessed! But, I just found out that I’m getting an award from our local dressage and combined training club and they want a picture for the slide show. How am I supposed to pick?

Help a fellow blogger out?

Stadium at Sporting Days Farm H.T.
Best Horse Ever at Poplar Place May H.T.
Stadium at Stable View H.T.
XC at Stable View H.T.
Dressage at Area Champs
Novice Stadium at Tryon Riding & Hunt Club H.T.
Finishing XC at Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T.

 

 

So which one is your favorite? Got another? Let me know in the comments!

Focus and Relaxation

I’ve had Pax just over a month now and it has been a really different experience. I didn’t set out to get a two-year-old – I would have preferred that he had been three going on four – but when I saw him, I got that feeling that he was the one. Age be damned. But not only is he two, for a thoroughbred, he’s a bit of a young two having been born in mid-May. And while I wouldn’t call him immature in the sense that he’s overly silly, you can tell he’s a baby and he mostly has the attention span of a gnat.

So all the ground work I am doing with him is imperative to teach Pax how to focus and how to relax.

The focus is coming along though we still have moments where he’ll forget and spook himself over a stationary object or the dogs that have been walking quietly beside us for the last ten minutes. Pax isn’t nasty about anything, he just doesn’t know how to handle himself yet. To date, he settles pretty quickly and forgets even quicker.

The relaxation though? That’s been more difficult. Now that Pax knows the basics of the groundwork we’re teaching him (how to send, how to turn his haunches, two eyes & two ears), we’re starting to use that to teach him to relax. In our lesson this week, LT had me wait to release the pressure until we saw at least a small sign of relaxation in his body. I had to see a lowered head, a cocked back foot, an exhale or sigh, something to show me that his mind was slowing down as much as his body was.

We’re still figuring each other out, and I can already tell that he will not be as easy as Gus has been, but I’m having a lot of fun learning right alongside.

Winter Wonderland

We got at least four but probably more like six inches of snow here in the heart of Georgia! I was shocked but thrilled. It made things feel like home for a small period of time.

Every solid surface was covered with snow. It looked like a scene straight out or Narnia.

So you know I dragged my husband out of bed to take photos.

And I am in love with these photos.

So thankful to my wonderful husband who took over a thousand photos of me struggling with two horses. He perfectly captured this magical moment.