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Equestrian Style

Arctic Horse Skirts Review

 



Ask marine biologist Jen Dushane how she keeps her horses warm during Alaskan winters and she’ll tell you about the “insulation value” of a horse’s coat and the importance of keeping them dry. When a horse grows a long winter coat, it creates – or traps – pockets of air which are then warmed by the horse’s body heat. It’s the same reason she wears her moose-hide Mukluk boots a size too big – to leave room for that pocket of air to warm her toes while riding.

The same theory applies to the warm, waterproof one-of-a-kind riding skirts Jen has developed. When you wear one of her Arctic Horse skirts, it creates a pocket of air around the rider, catching body heat from horse and rider to keep you warm from the waist down. I wrote about the small, woman-owned company here earlier this summer. Since then, I got to try an Arctic Horse all-weather riding skirt myself on a recent trip to Alaska.

There are so many things I loved about my Tongass rain skirt. When I first tried it on, I didn’t take it off for hours, even just sitting on the couch that evening. It was so warm and cozy, yet elegant. Super comfortable. On a trail ride around beautiful and wild Matanuska Lakes, a dense and wild forest northeast of Wasilla, my skirt was the envy of the trail ride. It was a blustery day with showers here and there.

Some other things I loved about my Tongass long rain skirt in serran blue:

  • The snap waist and elastic in the back made it a perfect and comfortable fit around my waist.
  • I loved the large, generous, fleece-lined and zippered pockets.
  • I loved my serran blue, but there are also many colors to choose from for the rain skirt!
  • It’s named after Tongass National Forest, a wild and beautiful place in Alaska and the largest national forest.

 

Scorecard

Quality: These high-quality, artisan skirts are hand-made with meticulous construction, tailor-made by women seamstresses in Alaska. Super sturdy, breathable, high-quality fabrics.

Style: Jen has gone to great lengths to make sure the fit and style of her skirts are both functional and beautiful. I felt like Snow White riding through an enchanted forest wearing my skirt.

Function: These products do what they promise – they keep you warm and dry — and look sophisticated and rugged and gorgeous at the same time. No matter the autumn showers that came down on us, or the water crossings we splashed through on horseback, my legs and saddle stayed dry. The skirt has leg straps underneath to keep it in place – even in windier moments during my ride. And the mounting snaps – to get the skirt out of the way while I mounted made sense and were super easy to figure out. Belt loops mean you can wear it with a belt if you wish. The tall size (the one I was wearing in the picture) was a tad too long for me (I’m about 5’6”), but the regular length fit perfectly. The fleece lining in the skirt seemed to give it a bit of grip on my horse’s back. Arctic Horse offers three other types of skirt in addition to the insulated rain skirt: the Arctic Insulated (like a warm puffer coat for your lower half), Backcountry Trail (this one is amazing waxed canvas – a great alternative to chaps), and Outlander Wool. Check out the catalog here.

Value: This rain skirt is a tough, one-of-a-kind product that seems like it will last forever. No matter which kind of skirt you choose – or if you live in a colder climate, maybe you get one of each. They are not cheap, but these are high-quality products (ranging from $159-$289) and worth every penny. Arctic Horse does offer occasional promotional deals via its Facebook page.

Check out this article about Jen’s skirt business – and she’s using it to help her community – in the September 2016 Alaska Business Monthly.

 

Tongass long rain skirt – $189.

 

Brrrr… it’s a little chilly in Alaska right now. Are you ready for winter riding in your neck of the woods?

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Kitson Jazynka

A freelance writer and children’s author based in Washington, D.C., Kitson Jazynka contributes regularly to Horse Illustrated. Her horses enjoy the good life in nearby Potomac, Md.

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