Promotional feature with Musto

As Keith Musto watched his daughter riding on a cold, rainy day, he looked around the circle of shivering parents with the realisation that he was the only one who was warm and dry in his sailing jacket. Having pioneered cutting-edge performance apparel that made the Musto name recognisable as the world’s leading sailing brand, Keith realised that the same could be true for the British country market. Then spent the next few years with his team of designers, making it happen.

Having already tested Musto fabrics on the 45,000 nautical miles of the Volvo Ocean Race, and in stringent laboratory conditions, the brand knew its fabrics worked, and worked well, in the harshest ocean conditions. The team’s fastidious design approach meant knowing the market in-depth before the design process could really begin. But country disciplines had a whole new set of design expectations. Country clothing has a traditional, sartorial look while activities such as equestrianism and shooting have specific, strict performance requirements that the Musto team had to fulfil.

Musto absorbed insight from top equestrian names like William Fox-Pitt to design stable-to-saddle-ready garments. Changeable British weather and the naturally muddy, rocky and thorny environment also meant that the garments had to protect the wearer while withstanding the conditions. The country might not have the same stressors as the ocean – no Southern Ocean-style 40 knot wind speeds and torrential, icy waters – but to make sure the garments could deliver the brand’s high level of protection, they had to show truly superior endurance on land.

The brand’s fastidious design process, meant that the Musto Country Collection was years in the making. But after extensive research, design, testing and feedback, the result was a multi-purpose, multi-terrain line that pushed the market into the next generation. This quality was recognised by some of the best athletes around the world – and closer to home – such as Equestrian Team GBR.

Having achieved incredible levels of success on the Olympic, Paralympic and European stages, Equestrian Team GBR riders are known for constant evolution when it comes to their performance, and the specification for their kit weren’t simply rider-specific. The team’s main requirement was versatility: the pieces they chose had to be climate-ready and span their diverse breadth of disciplines. Combined with the need for enhanced durability and impeccable, performance-enhancing designs, Musto was the logical choice.

Each garment worn by Equestrian Team GBR has been chosen based on its hidden technology. Highly wicking polos, waterproof jackets and insulating middle layers boost climate control during the riders’ rigorous training schedules. What’s more, every piece fits within Musto’s EquiSynergy System: a rider-specific adaptation of Musto’s revolutionary three-layer system.

The three-layer system has been a Musto innovation since it was first developed in 1979. Its aim was to keep sailors warm, dry and protected on the ocean without being restricted by multiple layers. Over time, these layers became lighter, which enabled sailors to move faster whilst keeping the overall weight down on the boat. In 2006, this system was adapted for the country market. Technical developments in the market resulted in lighter fabrics that provided riders with waterproof, wicking and warm layers, without creating too much bulk in the saddle.

Fast forward to today, and the system has been applied to keep Equestrian Team GBR performing at their peak by creating optimal levels of comfort. The team will be training and competing in summer climates such as America, Europe and Tokyo, so first step of the system will be to keep the rider’s skin dry. Water transmits heat up to 30 times faster than air, so the wetter the body, the greater the loss of body heat. To move moisture away from the body quickly, Musto has provided the team with highly wicking base layers that also have a superior level of breathability. Pieces like the Women’s Performance Stock Shirt are a great example of this, with an incredibly wicking construction and perforated side panels to keep airflow at optimal levels.

When temperatures decline, the athletes need to be kept warm in insulating layers that don’t compromise breathability when active: the second layer of the system. The Myers Packaway Gilet was an obvious choice for the team to achieve this. With its duck down insulation and red, white and blue piping, the gilet was the perfect combination of lightweight, heat-retaining performance with a nod to heritage through the piping.

For the third and final layer, Musto ensured that the team had a piece that could keep them warm and dry in the event of a downpour. The Women’s Training BR1 jacket, for example, has been constructed from a two-layer waterproof and breathable fabric made to the brand’s industry-surpassing standards. This jacket also delivered the exceptional freedom of movement that’s vital for an equestrian athlete through a four-way stretch construction.

It was this incisive understanding of Equestrian Team GBR’s needs and the conditions they’d be performing under that allowed Musto to create powerfully performance-enhancing, climate-ready pieces for their diverse range of disciplines. Shop the full range at Musto.com