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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning to start trail prepping my gelding and riding him on trails and i would like a safety vest as a just in case. He's a bit spooky but he general tries hard to be good under saddle, even with scary stuff.

So i would like a safety vest, i should probably be using one anyways because i ride alone at home a lot.

I noticed there are rather cheap ones and expensive. Are to $300+ worth it? I wouldn't mind buying a used one.
 

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I have an Airowear safety vest with a hefty price tag of $400 - but it was purchased with the intention of competing in eventing, not just trail riding. It's only seen one cross country course, but that's life for ya. I will say, this vest molds to your body and is very comfortable (especially as a women with breasts - it molds around them rather than just squishing them down). I think the price tag is worth it, especially as safety equipment.

I've seen a lot of people recommend the Tipperary safety vest as well, at the price tag of it of $300. It seems like there is not very many 'entry-level' price tag safety vests anymore, but just like helmets, you want them to have all of the certifications.
 

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The price reflects the safety level, fit and lightness and, to some extent, the manufacturer's name.

What matters is that the protector is in the safety level you want, it fits you and you're comfortable enough to wear it for hours in all weather.

Personally, I wouldn't buy a second hand one. They're like riding hats, they're supposed to be replaced every few years as the foam deteriorates or after a heavy fall if the foam doesn't spring back to shape.

Ours are split into safety levels, each aimed at different types of riding, the highest has the thickest foam for the most protection, but within that safety level, there's a range of prices from reasonable to very expensive. Our lowest level will be, or has been, phased out.

I went for our highest level and a Racesafe Provent 3, it was £236/$325 and I've an air vest at about £400/$550 which was present. I have them because I don't bounce as well as I used to, sometimes I ride on roads in heavy traffic, I ride sidesaddle and I often jump, many of them solid fences. I will admit that I rarely wear the air vest though.

I visited my local saddlery for mine and their range was all at the highest level and around the same price. I went so that I could be fitted; they measured my chest, waist, over the shoulder and back when I was sitting in a saddle.
 

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Tipperary is what we've used. Most around here use them as well. They are comfortable and have a good amount of adjustment. Just pay attention to back length and bust.
 

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I have a komperdell cross protection. I tried airowear but that pushed on my clavicles too much. The Komperdell vest is soft and okay to ride on trails. Compared to a cheaper one that I had (price range 100), it offers more movement freedom and is better tailored (but still not fine) to suit me. It's a really soft vest and you can take off the cover and wash it. But for reining it's still in the way and a bit of an annoyance... If you would want to go eventing I would buy an airbag vest... Here's some pics of me wearing it. I am 1m82 and I think this is a size M. I tried to find some pics where you can see how it sits around my body. :)

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay thanks, guys. Sounds like i might need to just try some on and see. I had figured price correlated with safety but it slipped my mind that the materials might degrade over time.

I only lightly jump on my gelding and it's nothing solid. I am also terrified of riding anywhere near traffic so that would be a no go, not because of him i just won't even walk near a road if i can help it. He's a pretty little guy probably 700-800 pounds. Worst fear is him bolting and me falling off. He's hasn't done that yet, but i like to be prepared.

My coming 2 year old is probably going to be 1200+ grown and i would be jumping on her eventually.
 

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For trail riding I got this one for $199. It’s really basic and was fine. Maybe not the most comfortable. I think this would not be acceptable for eventing but I was only trail riding on my own with a four year old gelding and wanted something just in case. Tipperary Ride Lite Vest | DRC0390 | Greenhawk

Re: second hand, I agree with those who have said not to because you don’t know the history of it. But if I had a friend I knew well who had gained weight and was buying a new one and I knew her riding history (no kicks no falls) and I needed the kind of vest she had, I would probably consider that but it’s a pretty limited set of circumstances.
 

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I have gifted or sold as my child out grew vests. He had no kicks or falls. But you would have to trust the seller was being honest. King the person and being familiar with their riding helps.
 

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I agree, you'd need to know its history including, accidents, its age and if it had been stored correctly. Dents are easier to see or feel, than deteriorating foam. I still have the tag from mine and it says to hang in a dry place out of sunlight, avoid extreme temperatures, not to crush and to hang or lay flat. All affect the protective properties of the foam. You'd have to trust that the person had done their best to look after it.
 

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So for those that have one, do you wear one every time you are riding? I am considering getting one as my husband recently broke his tibial plateau + fibula (in a very simple but unfortunate fall) and it is going to take a really long time to get back to walking and then full strength. I am now feeling a bit anxious about riding and all its inherent risks in that if I fell off and badly hurt myself, it would make life really difficult with two kids and DH already out of action. At most I ride twice a week, once in an arena lesson where I mostly do flatwork with the odd very small jump, and once a week on a trail ride (can be up to 5 h, forest, quieter roads, beach). I am feeling more anxious about the trail riding due to the increased likelihood for spooking and falls.
 

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So for those that have one, do you wear one every time you are riding? I am considering getting one as my husband recently broke his tibial plateau + fibula (in a very simple but unfortunate fall) and it is going to take a really long time to get back to walking and then full strength. I am now feeling a bit anxious about riding and all its inherent risks in that if I fell off and badly hurt myself, it would make life really difficult with two kids and DH already out of action. At most I ride twice a week, once in an arena lesson where I mostly do flatwork with the odd very small jump, and once a week on a trail ride (can be up to 5 h, forest, quieter roads, beach). I am feeling more anxious about the trail riding due to the increased likelihood for spooking and falls.
I wear mine every single time I ride. I feel naked without it. I trust my horses, I dont trust cars on the road not to scare my horses. I also am 33 and if I came off I wont bounce anymore. So more peace of mind for myself.
 

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Thanks @Jerri1987 , I am going to go try some on this weekend. My husband's fall was a very simple slip on grass while play a simple game of kicking a soccer ball back and forth with a friend. Now he likely needs surgery, 12 weeks till he can be weight bearing on that leg again, and then extensive and lengthy physio recovery after that. I am feeling rather anxious about the risk of any sort of fall now. I don't own a horse, so have to ride what I am given. I try to ride where I feel the horses are safer, but as you say, I don't trust the cars to not scare the horse. And I am 40, so yes, any bouncing back up from a fall is very long gone.
 

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Thanks @Jerri1987 , I am going to go try some on this weekend. My husband's fall was a very simple slip on grass while play a simple game of kicking a soccer ball back and forth with a friend. Now he likely needs surgery, 12 weeks till he can be weight bearing on that leg again, and then extensive and lengthy physio recovery after that. I am feeling rather anxious about the risk of any sort of fall now. I don't own a horse, so have to ride what I am given. I try to ride where I feel the horses are safer, but as you say, I don't trust the cars to not scare the horse. And I am 40, so yes, any bouncing back up from a fall is very long gone.
Its a great investment honestly and money worth spent. I got mine for a bday present last year from me to me. Its paid for itself in the times I have worn it.

I hope your hubby recovery quickly and yes always try and ride the safer horses. But we cannot control idiot people who don't realise they are fight or flight animals.
 

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I also always wear it. Also, a good store will let you buy the vest and return it if it's not good for you. I first bought an Airowear but that didn't work out for me so they took it back after 2 test rides with the horse. They made absolutely no problem about it and even helped me to find a new more suitable vest
 

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@MeditativeRider - I always wear mine. I've even worn it out on a bike! I never used to wear one and it took a long time to get used to it but I'd feel wrong without it now. I also wear it on the ground, as I'd a severe injury from a high kick that wouldn't have been so bad if I'd been wearing a protector, but they weren't the norm at that time.

They can feel pretty solid and uncomfotable when you first put them on but your body heats the foam and they mould to your shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I tried on 2 at the store today. Those were the only ones that fit me. One was airowear the other was tipperary. Both were super uncomfortable when i first put them on but i do think they got a little better when i was switching back and forth. I think the tipperary was more comfortable for me, also seemed long enough. Airowear vest was really short, i saw there were options to get it longer just not in the store. I think this is the only store that probably has them for a several hour drive 😕

Bit of a concern with the tipperary is that there isn't really side protection. My last 2 falls were on the side of my rib cage/hip, nothing bad. It would just really suck if that happened on a trail with a rock instead of soft pasture. Should i buy a bigger size and keep it cinched all the way tight? Im not sure i can find anymore vest to try on.

Any thoughts?
 

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I have a Hit Air air vest. I've never come off the horse while wearing it but I did have my husband pull the cord to see what it would be like when it inflated. The neck roll comes up, the hip rolls go down and it wraps you up nice and snug. The noise wasn't too loud and I've never had it go off accidentally - the cord has some elastic in it and I get off my horse slowly, so on those occasions when I've forgotten to unhook it before I got down, it didn't go off. It was around $500
 

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The Tipperary is meant to fit snug. You would have to try it on to ensure you are not in a size to big when pulled together. As many falls as I have seen students and other riders at competitions I have never heard of any injury where the gap is. You obviously don't want it so wide it offers no protection but ideally you want to be able to snug it up if you lose weight and let it out a reasonable amount if you gain. I'd say under the arm width is the most you want and two fingers the least.
 

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I think it's better to take your time so that you can find one that fits correctly rather than nearly, but I understand that it might be difficult given the limited selection and distance.

I suppose it depends on where you're willing to take a risk.

I don't know the Tipperary brand; they're not approved here, as far as I'm aware it's due to the design. I agree that you woudn't want it too large so that you can't make it tighter, or so small that you've a large unprotected gap. On the positive side it was comfortable, it fit relatively well, it was long enough and it will offer you protection.

I know the airowear a lot better. I think you need to ask if it was really short or did it come to your tail bone and did they measure you in a saddle so that the back ended a hands width above the seat - western or euro GP, which ever one you use. If you have a good set of meaurements then you could buy a longer version online but then your adding another risk. But, regardless of the fit, if it wasn't as comfortable as the Tipperary, then there's a good chance that you'll stop wearing it and then it won't give you any protection.

Both types need to be snug over thin clothes so that they're in contact with your body but loose enough that you can take a breath.

So, I'd say that it's a very personal decision.
 
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