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Equestrian Sunglasses

Description: First designed for golfers who demanded unaltered vision in any lighting situation, the shatterproof lenses of PeakVision Sports' Equestrian Sunglasses, Style GR4, are designed to avoid distorting perspective or altering clarity (unlike traditional sports sunglasses). The frames are made from durable, lightweight microcrystalline nylon. The frames are designed to fit under a helmet while covering your full vision field. For equestrians, the company recommends glass lenses, with either a pink tint designed to increase visual contrast on sand and composite footing, or a yellow tint for green-grass footing. The sunglasses come with a hard carrying case, microfiber lens-care bag, and a one-year warranty.

The test: The Trail Rider's Saddlebag Savvy editor Heidi Nyland, and a fellow NARHA riding instructor, Sddita Fradette, tested and compared two pairs of GR4 PeakVision sunglasses while riding in the Colorado mountains. One pair featured white mercury frames with lenses for sand/composite footing, and the other tortoise-colored frames with lenses said to be best for green-grass footing.

"Both pairs felt lightweight and comfortable when worn with a helmet," Nyland says. "At first, I wasn't sure if I'd like the design - with frames at the top and only glass at the bottom - but the style helped provide clear vision. There was no line at the bottom of my vision field and no blind spots. Plus, my entire field of vision was covered."

Nyland says she only had one constructive piece of advice on the glasses' design. "It might be helpful to add a rubber earpiece over your ears to ensure that the glasses stay on at higher speeds or over bumps, but the glasses felt secure and stayed on well during our walk-only trail ride."

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Nyland and Fradette carefully considered the benefits of both lens tint options, especially considering that trail riders typically encounter a variety of terrain during one ride.

"The pink lenses, said to be for sand and composite footing, provided the best protection in bright, sunny, open landscape versus shady, tree-covered landscape," Nyland says. "We didn't feel like we squinted as much."

However, "when riding through a dense tree area, the yellow-tinted lenses, said to be for grass footing, really helped us see the terrain and the details of branches," says Nyland. "The clarity was remarkable and the yellow lenses weren't bad in the bright light situations, either."

"If I had to only pick one pair, I would make my decision based on where/when I rode the most," says Fradette. "If I were to ride mostly in tree-covered, mountain terrain, or cloudy/changing weather, then I'd choose the yellow lenses. If I was riding on a trail in the desert in a lot of open space, or where the sun tends to be very bright, I'd wear the pink lenses."

Nyland and Fradette report that both lens types allowed you to see the wearer's eyes. "I know this is not a terribly important feature for all riders, but as a riding instructor, I like knowing that my students can see my expression while I have protection from the sun. I like to see my friends' eyes when I talk to them as we ride together, too, so that's a real benefit for me," Fradette says.

Cost: $99.

Contact: PeakVision Sports, (888) 856-3419; www.peakvisionsports.com.

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