This just seems absurd to me.
WHY would any company sell a body protector that doesn't meet standards? It isn't like they are a fashion statement; they are purely meant to be a functional piece of equipment. If they don't function as intended, then why make and sell them at all? Well, I'll continue to wear mine. I suppose that it offers some protection, so it is better than wearing nothing.
I planned to purchase a Hows RS locally, which I believe is Level 3, but they are not made in small/tall and the regular length was too short for me. The people in the store said it was not a good fit.
This is an expensive lesson to learn. So glad I found this board to ask questions before diving in to a big purchase (well, big after the horse, trailer, saddle, etc, etc)
Thanks for all the responses!
Believe it or not, they became quite a fashion statement in the Eventing World due to seeing Upper Level Riders in them. Don't forget, many people coppy what they see in Magazines, in Video's and in person.
I see many coppying what Upper Level Riders wear on themselves, and on their horses. One round, you see Ian Millar in a Sheepskin 1/2 Pad and WHAMO - EVERYONE has them. You see Rodrigo Pessoa's horse wearing Sheepskin Open Front Boots...and WHAMO - everyone has them on their horses....you see Karen O'Connor in a Tipperary Safety Vest...and all of a sudden they are on everyone *these are just broad examples*
The Tipperary became a fashion statement in the lower levels, everyone had them. You weren't "Cool" if you didn't. Don't forget though, that many Upper Level Eventers are just as broke as you and I, and rely on their sponsors to supply what is needed to do their sport, and those sponsors rely on these "well known" Upper Level Eventers to market their products - so it becomes a win win situation. I imagine, that Tipperary donated their vests to riders, for them to market them...and it worked.
Lower Level Riders saw these vests on "big named" riders, and they had to rush out and buy them for themselves...and voila....that's how they became so popular and you would see 8 out of 10 riders in them.
It was a few years ago, at Rolex....gosh, I think it was 3+ years ago - where the Tipperary Rep announced at Rolex that their vests are not certified and are not approved. It was at that point in them, when many people went "oh, I didn't know that" because people bought them because everyone else was wearing them - people do not educate themselves on what they are purchasing. Many buy, because they are a popular piece of tack/equipment.
That was when I remember seeing people selling their Tip vests, and purchasing the new fad - which was the Rodney Powell Safety Vest aka Body Armor. Some European Eventers were wearing them at Rolex...then before you knew it, that vest was the next popular thing. I remember going onto ebay and www.tacktrader.com
and other sale sites, seeing a mass amount of add's of people selling their Tipperary Vests.
I can go to an Event today, and I will still see Tipp's and the Flex Rider Tipperary knock off's.....but I see more of the Rodney Powell's and the new one the Airowear's. Those who are in the Tip's, I see them wearing the Inflatable Vests overtop.
Wearing a Tip alone, I wouldn't feel safe or secure, but if I had the Inflatable Vest overtop, I'd be quite comfortable.