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Black Points
Oct. 16, 2009, 02:07 PM
I just finished my first 2 day clinic with Lucinda and it was fabulous! At the end we were invited to ask questions and we talked about helmets and protective vests. A bunch of us had been talking about EXO's vs Inflatables and Motor Cycle vests and motor cycle helmets.

The most interesting point to me, having just bought an EXO, is that she told us that although the EXO is Beta approved, they are no longer manufacturing them and they are no longer recommended. The reasons she gave are:

1. If the rider fall and can't be moved, they're almost impossible to get off of the rider. You have to leave the Allen key with the show management or EMT folks and that adds a difficulty.

2. You neck becomes more at risk for injury because the vest prevents you from rolling into a ball when you fall because of it's rigidity. She compares this problem with that of rigid ski boots preventing broken ankles but causing more knee injuries. She made the statement that whenever you try to fix one problem, you generally create another.

3. She said that the inflatables were good but didn't offer any neck protection and it isn't clear if you can do a rolling fall in one.

4.. Regarding the helmets, they can move on your head on impact and don't really provide that much protection. She helped design a riding helmet based on motorcycle helmets and used to wear it but found it hard to hear with the helmet on and also got lots of funny looks and comments....plus it wasn't approved for eventing. She is going to see if any of those helmets still exist.

Just though ya all should be aware of her opinions.

Mary in western NY
http://www.BPEquine.com

armyeventer
Oct. 16, 2009, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the info, Mary. I wanted to go to that clinic SO BAD!! Was it awesome?

Hope to see you next season!

Regards,
Mary K. Jayne

AKB
Oct. 16, 2009, 02:42 PM
i am a bit skeptical of her information unless she can back it up with some rationale. Since pony club began requiring helmets, the rate of head injury has greatly decreased. Helmet are far from perfect, but are much, much better than no helmet. I would like to see more helmet design research so helmets can provide more protection while remaining light weight and comfortable. Until helmets are improved, I will just be grateful that we have helmets that work in most situations.

Vests certainly need more research. I became a believer in vests when I watched a bad rotational fall years ago at the Virginia Horse Trials. The kid and pony galloped around a curve on the Training cross country course and did not see the last fence until right before they hit it. The pony flipped over the fence and the kid flew through the air, landing on her face, unconscious. I had to slightly reposition her as her face was in the dirt with her airway obstructed, and she was turning blue. After an MD and EMT eventually arrived, we had to flip her over onto her back for transport. I expected to find a mangled face. Instead, her vest and helmet had absorbed the blow. Her face was fine. She regained consciousness, was transported to the ER for a CT scan, and returned to the show grounds to care for her pony and watch her friends ride the next day.

FoxChaser
Oct. 16, 2009, 02:44 PM
Based on your EXO thread, did you find yourself wanting to send yours back? I'm sure that conversation would have made me sick having just bought one ;)

Black Points
Oct. 16, 2009, 03:56 PM
Yes, I did feel a bit down after hearing Lucinda's info about the EXO but she agreed that something is better than nothing. I think it also depends on each individual and how they tend to fall. I intend to wear my EXO as soon as I can make a bit of an adjustment to it.

As for the helmets... Lucinda in no way meant to imply she was against wearing them but that currently, they don't really do what we would like them to do; i.e., prevent head injuries. They do help but aren't where they need to be for the sport. I had a brand new approved helmet on when my horse stumbled on landing over a training oxer and I fell as she went down on her knees. People that saw it thought it was a very slow, easy fall and I did too except that it gave me a concussion with a trip to the hospital. In my case, I think it's the helmet fit because the approved helmets that I "like" don't really fit the shape of my head properly. The ones that cover the most and fit the best aren't approved in the USA. So I have to go with the best fit.

Anyhow, Lucinda did NOT say NOT to wear a vest or a helmet. She simply stated that from the falls and injuries that she herself has had, seen or heard about, we need lots more research and design to make both helmets and vests better.

Mary in western NY
http://www.BPEquine.com

RAyers
Oct. 16, 2009, 04:19 PM
...

2. You neck becomes more at risk for injury because the vest prevents you from rolling into a ball when you fall because of it's rigidity. She compares this problem with that of rigid ski boots preventing broken ankles but causing more knee injuries. She made the statement that whenever you try to fix one problem, you generally create another.

...


I am not sure what she means here. A neck injury can happen just as easily if you are in a ball or laid out flat. Think of curling up and landing on the back of your head or remember that recent picture from Luhmulen with the rider going straight down as the horse flipped. Even with the inflatable vest she landed on the back of her neck, the only curling up was due to gravity.

I also say that her ski boot analogy is a red herring. Rigid ski boots were designed for control and stability, never for injury reduction.

I absolutely agree with your assessment of her intent though! Safety equipment must be better designed but sadly that takes thorough study, money and time.

Reed

Arcadien
Oct. 16, 2009, 04:43 PM
I think she may have meant, being able to roll into a ball when falling made the impact less, therefore less risk of neck injury...? Thinking the vest wouldn't help or hinder if a given impact is going to cause one, but that if the type of impact could be altered, more the better...?

Agree the only way to know for sure is testing under controlled circumstances...

But I do place some of my "luck" (knock on wood) in not being seriously injured in my many past falls to my athleticism (made the "tuck & roll" in to an art form, not really something to be proud of I suppose lol) and I would frown on any equipment that limited that athletic instinct from being able to carry through...

Interesting topic.

FrittSkritt
Oct. 16, 2009, 04:46 PM
The most interesting point to me, having just bought an EXO, is that she told us that although the EXO is Beta approved, they are no longer manufacturing them and they are no longer recommended.

I'm not sure that's entirely true. I believe they are still being manufactured by Woof... she may have been thinking about BodyCage no longer holding the patent to it. Also, is there some sort of governing authority there that recommends certain types of vests? (Not being rude here, just curious as I know USEA/USEF wouldn't touch something like that with a 10 foot pole.)


1. If the rider fall and can't be moved, they're almost impossible to get off of the rider. You have to leave the Allen key with the show management or EMT folks and that adds a difficulty.

There is an allen key located on both flaps that's easily accessible. I know in the UK, you have to notify show management that you are wearing one (since the vests are more common over there) so the EMTs are aware and will be prepared in case they need to remove it. You can also let the EMTs know yourself and demonstrate where the keys are and how to remove the vest -- can't hurt. I'm even thinking of modifying the little patch so it's easy to just tear the fabric away and remove the key without having to get out the scissors.


2. You neck becomes more at risk for injury because the vest prevents you from rolling into a ball when you fall because of it's rigidity. She compares this problem with that of rigid ski boots preventing broken ankles but causing more knee injuries. She made the statement that whenever you try to fix one problem, you generally create another.

As Reed said, and as a former competitive skier, rigid ski boots aren't meant to prevent broken ankles, it has to do with function/performance and the mechanics of skiing. (If that makes sense. ;))

So far I haven't felt like the vest is a hindrance in falling (although I've never fallen off with it) -- and I have a feeling that in the half second that you're airborne, many amateur riders are most likely thinking with "CRAP, I'M FALLING!" during that time than planning on how to roll away. At least that's how I foresee myself handling that situation. :winkgrin: Also, I suspect the airbag vests are in the same category -- once they're inflated, people look like the little kid in "A Christmas Story."

It is a little more difficult to move around in, but to be honest, I don't consider it to be any worse than my old Charles Owen. I get grief from some people about it, but I will wear it anyway. :yes:

KateWooten
Oct. 16, 2009, 06:46 PM
I should imagine there is something in the idea that a too-rigid vest could shift the point of injury from the back to the relatively unprotected neck - more research definitely needed.

I do think there is a danger, though in thinking that the only way to know for sure is testing under controlled circumstances...

I've had some experience of testing (other things) under controlled circumstances, and in building model worlds to test theories. One of the pitfalls is in the design of the controlled circumstances themselves. You can test for the things you thought to test for, but alas, not for the unforseen knock-on effects, which typically remain unforseen until they emerge over time.

Seems to me that the only way to know for sure is long term use and careful analyses of observed actual statistics. But of course, that's a little hard on the sources of the statistics.