Vest Protectors - What do they protect?
Obviously, they are made to protect the upper body, but to what degree? I tend to land on my shoulder in most falls. In the past, I have dislocated my shoulder, more then once, and broken my collar bone. Will a vest help me at all in those areas? I ride a lot of green horses and as I get older, I worry more about getting hurt. I don't need recommendations as I have read all the posts on this forum, just advice on how well I will be protected.
I'm not sure how well they protect the collarbone area, but I'd guess it's better than nothing at all.
I believe they're primarily designed to protect your internal organs and ribcage.
My vest is mainly my ribs and lower back (where I always land). As the poster above said, it would be better than nothing.
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The most common riding injury is a broken collarbone or broken wrist, caused by a rider breaking their fall by throwing out an arm. Vests do little or nothing to prevent this, except for the ones that have the extra little shoulder pad over the top of your arm.
Vests do mostly protect your ribcage and internal organs. In high speed falls, broken ribs can puncture lungs and spleens. Vests also do protect your thoracic and lumbar spine from disc or vertebra injury, and from internal bleeding. These injuries are usually associated with higher force and velocity, which means riding at speed or over fences, not just hacking around the ring.
However, if you have a vest, or can afford a vest, wear it and wear it at all times. In all my years of teaching and coaching, the two most serious injuries sustained by my students were spinal injuries (broken lumbar vertebra.) The students were both middle aged woman, who both had soft falls riding on the flat in sand rings. A vest would have saved them both a lot of pain and a long recovery.
I have two vests, I have not worn either in a long time as I tend to wear them when I do something that in my mind meets the dangerous criteria.
One has shoulder padding, the other attaches between my legs and so has padding for the lower spine. The later is horrible to wear, it is so uncomfortable.
ETA - Think of football gear, that doesn't prevent broken bones - I think they are designed to stop worse injuries.
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