Retain Heat and Happiness
For six months, a generous gift card burned a hole in my pocket. Though I had plenty of horse-related expenses during that time, I wanted to save this for something special.
When winter landed in Montana, I decided it was finally time for a fun trip to the tack store.
Cold weather horse riding can be challenging, to say the least. From nearly-frostbitten toes to frozen ears and hands, it’s hard to ride well when you brain needs to solely focus on keeping you alive.
I’ve tried layering, fleece shirts and breeches, and even battery-heated coats, vests, and gloves. Each option proved helpful in certain — but not all — equestrian scenarios. That’s when I discovered the Ovation Tyra Jacket.
Quick Look: Ovation Tyra Riding Coat
This coat is clearly made for riders, by riders. Not only is is super warm and waterproof, the zippered hips and seat panels mean you can go from barn work to the saddle without skipping a beat.
What We Love:
- Extremely warm, even if you don’t produce much natural body heat
- Zip-open thighs and expandable seat panel
- Lycra thumb-hole cuffs
- Flattering cut and detailing
- Waterproof against bad weather
What We Don’t:
- Runs large (I’m 5’6, 120# and wear the XS)
- Fleece lined pockets gather dirt and treat crumbs
Winter, Meet Tyra
This beauty was hiding amidst other coats in my tack store’s winter outwear section, but she caught my eye right away. The only one of her kind on a rack puffy coats and parkas — and an extra small. Eek, probably too small.
But when I pulled this coat out for a closer look, I couldn’t find a single fault with it.
And even though it was a size smaller than I’d usually buy, it still looked about right. I checked the price tag — ouch — more than the $200 I had to spend from my gift card. Reluctantly, I placed it back on the hanger and continued browsing through the other apparel. Every few minutes, though, I found myself glancing back at that coat.
The tack shop manager seemed to notice and came over. When I told her there was a brown jacket that looked really nice, she immediately knew which one I meant. Memorable for her since she had ordered it as a sample for herself, in order to see whether it was worth stocking for the store.
Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for me, it was a little too snug for the layers she wanted to wear underneath to the barn.
“I’ll give you a great deal on it,” she said with a smile, nodding toward the dressing room. From the moment I pulled it on, I knew I wasn’t leaving the store without that coat.
5 Reasons I Had to Have It
Flattering and Adjustable Fit
It’s hard to find a truly warm winter coat that doesn’t make you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow (Wo)Man. Not so with the Tyra Jacket, thanks to its strategic zippers, expandable panels, and flattering cut.
Clearly designed by equestrians, the coat featured all the need-to-haves and nice-to-haves.
Most of us make do with short puffy jackets — and cold upper legs — in order to ride in a winter coat. The Tyra solves this problem with zippers along the outside of each thigh.
Keep them zipped while you’re working around the barn, or tacking up, for maximum warmth. Then unzip them when you’re ready to get on and ride, enjoying full freedom of motion.
The seat features a zipper down the middle, which allows you to expand a hidden fabric panel underneath. The result is a coat that’s fitted when you’re on the ground, but expands to cover the back of your saddle while riding.
Head out on a snowy road ride, brave the sleet to tackle some trails, or gather cattle in all weather conditions. You won’t end up sitting on a rumpled coat or soaking your saddle in wet weather.
Expandable and Detachable Hood
Even thinking about wind or snow going down my collar makes me shiver. So what if you want to wear your helmet while using a coat hood? With most winter coats, good luck. Standard hoods simply weren’t made to fit (or stay put) over a helmet.
The Tyra, on the other hand, has a zipper down the center of the hood that reveals an expandable panel. It fits perfectly over a helmet, then zips back to normal size when you’re done riding.
Riding inside and don’t need a hood getting in your way? No problem — snap it off completely. Unless I’m doing a road ride, I leave the hood off. I prefer the increased range of motion around my head and neck when I’m hanging out at the barn or riding indoors.
Remember that Stay Puft Man? You’re not going to see him in the mirror, thank goodness. This coat has a flattering, tapered fit that helps you retain shape (thanks adjustable waistband!) and move freely.
I have a slim build (5’6 and 120 lbs), and the extra small fits perfectly as long as I’m not trying to stuff a bunch of heavyweight layers underneath. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to!
Ready to try it? Check out the Tyra Jacket at Amazon.
No-Escape Heat Retention
As a thinner rider, I constantly struggle with outerwear that claims to “reflect your body heat.” What if you don’t give off enough body heat to begin with? That’s why I was so delighted to zip up this coat and instantly feel my core temperature stabilize — then gradually rise.
Other than my battery-powered coat, the Tyra is the only winter jacket I’ve found that delivers on its promise of heat retention.
What you need to know:
- The Tyra Jacket extends to mid-thigh for extra coverage.
- This coat is waterproof, so sleet and snow won’t leave you soaked to the bone.
- The shell is 100% Polyester and rated WP/B 5000/5000.
- The first number essentially means you could stand outside while 5,000 mm (or 16+ feet) of rain fell before water soaked through the shell of this coat.
- The second number tells you how breathable the coat is, with higher numbers denoting a more breathable fabric.
- 100% Polyester insulation keeps you warm and toasty on even the coldest of days.
- Double linings help retain heat too, with a 100% Polyester faux fur around the shoulders and neck and 100% Polyester extra strength taffeta for the remainder.
The true test for me is how few layers I actually need under this coat. Gone are the days of trying to ride in a suffocating 10-layer mess of shirts and sweaters. A t-shirt and long-sleeve thermal are enough if it’s above ~30 degrees. A light fleece is all I need to add on colder days.
Attention to Detail
The benefits discussed thus far are enough to make this a good coat, but it’s the extra attention to detail that make it a great coat.
Lycra thumbhole cuffs: No more cold wrists sending shivers up your spine. These cozy, flexible cuffs keep your sleeves perfectly in place.
Magnetic snaps: One of my favorite features are the magnetic snaps that instantly snug into place over the main, two-way zipper. There’s a traditional snap at the very top and bottom for extra security. The pockets also have snaps to keep them from flapping around.
Cozy lining: Cold fabric around my neck is a no-go in the winter, but this faux fur lining is incredibly comfy and warm.
Reflective piping: Whether you’re riding the roads or simply feeding at dusk, reflective piping along the back, sleeves, chest, and hood increase your visibility.
Roomy pockets: There’s plenty of room for your gloves, chapstick, and horse treats. Better add a pack of Kleenex too for those winter riding sniffles!
In and Out of the Saddle
If you look in the back seat of my car most winters, it’s like an outerwear graveyard. There are a smattering of different vests, jackets, coats, gloves, and hats so I can mix and match. Depending on the weather and what type of riding I’m doing, I end up putting together different combinations that are warm enough — but not too warm.
Now, though, I have a coat that’s warm enough for working around the barn, but breathable enough for riding. Aside from a puffy vest and light puff jacket for milder days, I don’t need anything else!
If you’re going to invest a good chunk of change on a winter riding coat, you want it to last. So do I, and I’m really optimistic that my Ovation Tyra Jacket will hold up to years of use.
I’ve already been wearing the coat about 5x per week, washed it several times, and it still looks brand new.
Kudos to Ovation for not cutting corners on materials or craftsmanship. Riding apparel has to hold up to a lot of wear and tear, and it’s refreshing to see products that are up to the task.
Ready to try it? Check out the Tyra Jacket at Amazon.
Buyer’s Regret, Be Gone!
Even though I was able to use a gift card, and got a discount, I love this coat so much that I’d now have gladly have paid full price. Riding is what keeps me physically fit, mentally healthy (sort of ha), and connected with friends. Being able to enjoy this hobby year-round — and be comfortable despite bad weather — is such a gift.
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
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- 9 Best boots for western horseback riding