LL Bean Packaways are Perfect for Horse Time

Regardless of where you live, this time of year demands layers. That’s especially true when taking our horse work into consideration. Weather is often a crap shoot. Barn calls may come before dawn (and below freezing) or midday (with plenty of sun and mud). It pays to be prepared and comfortable.

This month, we’re focusing on a few impressive products from LL Bean. The Maine company currently is having a Winter Send-Off Sale.

Read Amy Skinner’s review of LL Bean vest here.

When searching for a versatile layer, I gravitated immediately to the PrimaLoft Packaway line. LL Bean offers a jacket, a hooded jacket, and a vest. The three all come in five vibrant colors, offer great insulation, and can all pack down for easy travel and storage.

I tried the PrimaLoft Packaway Hooded Jacket in green with pink trim: think watermelon. And what’s not to like about watermelon this time of year?

The jacket served beautifully as an outermost layer as well as under a heavier jacket. It is tailored for a slim fit which means no extra fabric will encumber or catch during chores. Under another layer, the jacket felt more like a cashmere cardigan.

The shell easily sheds hay and horse hair and, anyway, it’s easy to machine wash and dry. The entire jacket stuffs easily into one of the pockets which has its own ‘stowaway’ zipper for the task. Once stuffed, the 11-ounce package has a handy loop for tying with saddle strings or attaching to backpack, making it easy to store and grab when the weather gets nippier (as it always does).

Like a favorite pair of jeans, the jacket will likely have a quiet, endearing effect on its wearer. It’ll stay on that top hook in the mudroom, all the more easy to grab, day or night. You’ll think of it as a second skin. It will feel good on and it will do its job.

Looking for something different for a trip to town?

Check out the Waxed Cotton and Wool Jacket from LL Bean’s Signature line. It’s warmer, dressier, and bulkier than the PrimaLoft Packaway jacket, with a fun faux-fur hood.

The jacket features a warm, charcoal grey color, brass buttons, two-way pockets, and a zippered breast pocket for your phone. Careful, though, it’s spot clean only. Keep the horses and hay at bay.

LL Bean’s Barn Friendly Vest

Regardless of where you live, this time of year our barn and horse work demands layers. We’re focusing on a few impressive products from LL Bean. The Maine company currently is having a Winter Send-Off Sale.

Read jacket reviews here.

Amy Skinner, owner of Essence Horsemanship and a trainer at Bar T Ranch in Pittsboro, North Carolina. She reviewed LL Bean’s Signature Packable Quilted Vest this month.

She writes:

It’s cold and windy, but barn chores and horses don’t wait for better weather. Trying to keep warm and able to move is a battle of balance, where sometimes you sacrifice mobility for warm layers.

As a woman who rides five days a week in all types of weather, I often find myself feeling and looking like the abominable snow man: bundled up head to toe, straining to lift a leg up into a stirrup and flop into the saddle with about 20 extra pounds of clothing on. An innocent bystander would not only be befuddled, but probably wouldn’t even be able to identify me as a woman under all the heavy, unfeminine layering.

I’m into practicality and ideally, I’d like to look good while doing farm work. This L.L Bean Packable Quilted Vest weighs just ounces and is insulated with Polartec’s Primaloft. When I pair it with a good scarf, it keeps me nice and warm. It is sleek, attractive in mariner blue, and fitted enough to reveal the wearer as a woman, yet still loose enough to layer under comfortably. Gone are my bundled, waddling, genderless days of barn work with this pretty and practical vest.

It has another attractive feature: five brass button snaps in place of a zipper. You not only get the longevity of a snap button where a zipper eventually fails (How annoying is it when the zipper teeth wear out, leaving your poor torso freezing as your vest flaps in the wind?), but you get to hear that satisfying “click” as you suit up for your work day.

It has two medium sized breast pockets, and below there are two larger pockets just above hip level big enough for most cell phones, granola bars, and other necessities. If you get hot throughout the day, this vest folds up about the size of a good paperback, fitting easily in your saddle bags, backpack, or purse. For extra convenience, it folds right into itself, with a sewn in zipper pocket on the inside you can tuck the vest right into.

I feel just as good wearing it out in town as I do at the barn. Going from dirty barn life to normal civilian life is easy with a quick wipe down of the vest’s exterior. It’s water resistant and easy to keep clean. This vest has replaced my old, heavy vests with its practicality, warmth, light weight, awesome pockets that can actually hold things (no wimpy girl pockets on this thing), and attractive look.

Sometimes you do actually get what you pay for, and this vest is worth the price with its quality and durability.

Dressage and Champagne in Mancos

Classical dressage competitor and instructor Petra Beltran will speak and present during an informal free evening presentation at the River Studio in Mancos, Colorado. Reservations are required for “An Evening of Classical Dressage and Champagne,” 5:30 – 7 pm, February 24, at the River Studio, 121 Grand Avenue.

Originally from the Czech Republic, Beltran is currently training and living in Woodside, California where she runs White Horse Dressage Academy. Beltran has traveled extensively and is a USDF bronze medalist. She describes herself as a constant learner and one who is passionate about classical dressage. She is enjoying southwestern Colorado while visiting friend and fellow horse lover, Petra Sullwold.

Check out the White Horse Dressage Academy Facebook page here.

Space is free but limited. RSVP by calling (970) 903 8901.

Petra Beltran





A Valentine’s Giveaway for Horse Lovers

Enter Now!

Horse people are funny. We don’t necessarily give a whit about “stuff.” Unless the stuff has to do with:

  • our horses
  • our horse dreams
  • our horse goals
  • our horse trips
  • our horse accomplishments

So Valentine’s Day might be just another day unless it offered something decidedly horsey to celebrate. Horses, after all, are our tried and true Valentines.

So just for you and your horses, from today through February 23, NickerNews and BestHorsePractices are offering a Valentine’s special giveaway worth $450 dollars. It includes:

  • 5 Star Equine All Around Western pad
  • Unbranded coffee table book and DVD pack of the award-winning documentary
  • Knotty Girlz halter and leadline (previously reviewed)
  • Liberty Bottleworks “Nicker More, Buck Less” bottle

Here’s how to enter:

Join Remuda Readers. All new and current Remuda Readers qualify for the Valentine’s giveaway. Remuda Readers receive exclusive content and a free book (A Rider’s Reader: Exploring Horse Sense, Science & Sentiment, by Maddy Butcher) when they subscribe. Join Remuda Readers.

Double Your Chances on Facebook:

Double your chances when you join Remuda Readers and send us a picture of you and your Valentine horse(s) by tagging us on our Facebook pages, NickerNews and BestHorsePractices. We will feature them throughout the duration of the contest. Like our pages here and here.

America’s own Olathe Boots

We’re always keen on quality gear and we especially love hearing reader testimonials.

Recently, a NickerNews & BestHorsePractices fan turned our attention to Olathe Boots, an impressive Texas boot company, established in 1875.
Our reader writes: I have a pair of tall top, hippo hide boots that I bought in Kalispell, Montana. They are my riding, driving, stomping, dancing, everyday boots for the last five years. I’ve resoled them twice.
I prefer them over other brands because they are made in America and well made in America.

First things first: Hippo hide?

This Montana rider LOVES his Olathes

We talked with Steven Kahla, Olathe Boots brand manager.
The hide comes from certified dealers and is part of population control efforts in Africa, said Kahla. Each hide comes from an authorized tannery and its export and sale are tightly controlled.

Of course, the company makes all variety of boots from cowhide, too. There are packer boots, classic cowboy boots, polo boots, rough stock boots, and tall top boots.

Olathe boots are made in Mercedes, Texas, one of the most southern towns in the state. About 100 boot makers produce 300 pairs per week.
Kahla calls himself a “test dummy.” His family has been in ranching for four generations and he owns and shows cutting horses. He puts each new pair through the rigors of horse work. Kayla reminds me that despite its 140-year heritage, the company is staying current, constantly considering improvements, and listening to customers.

Some recent advances include the full welt and a spur rest that goes nicely wide around to the sides (not just at the back). The full welt increases comfort and durability. The improved spur rest means your spurs will stay put.

“We learn by experience and by testing. We’re not going to get it right every time,” said Kahla, who knows of Nobel Peace Prize winners and men in the Armed Services Special Forces who wear Olathe boots. “We’re open to listening.”

Olathe boots adhere to the unisex principle that is increasing in popularity across many gear and apparel lines. Women’s boots are styled like men’s: just as durable, just as practical, just as tough, said Kahla.
“Some other boot companies make women’s boots that are extremely styled. They might look great, but they don’t last if you actually use them. We don’t make men’s boots or women’s boots. We just make boots.”
Stay tuned for an Olathe boot review coming soon.

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