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View Full Version : Why so few people wearing protective vests in the jumpers?



BeeHoney
May. 17, 2010, 03:40 PM
Just curious. There's probably an old thread about this somewhere but I couldn't find it.

I routinely ride in a protective vest at home since some of the horses I ride are pretty green. I got started wearing one when my DH saw a good friend of ours be injured from a bad fall. My DH told me that he loved to support my riding since it was so important to me and he promised to continue to do so, but he asked me very seriously in return to always be as safety conscious as possible. Initially I wore a vest selectively on the green horses, but then I got used to wearing it and now I just put it on before the first horse and leave it on until I'm done.

In the past, I have not worn it at shows. But, I'm getting ready to take a young jumper out for his first few shows, and this guy is going great...but every once in a while he can be, ahem, overly enthusiastic :D:D Honestly, I really think the likelihood of us having a problem in the ring when we are focused on a course is small...but I'm thinking I'm going to wear the darn thing. Concerns for my own safety aside, it is a tiny price to pay for all the support my amazing DH gives me. And fashionistas out there, don't panic, it is black tipperary vest and the horse and I are otherwise outfitted in completely traditional, classic attire. :)

So I've gotta ask, why do so few jumper riders wear vests? I mean heck, the warmup areas are swarming with people riding--and jumping--even without HELMETS, let alone vests.

ponyjumper4
May. 17, 2010, 04:15 PM
The biggest reason is because the types of falls and things to fall on or crash into are different. I could see one of the new air vests being more of an idea for the jumpers just because it blows up once you leave the saddle. With eventing, and the cross country phase being the only phase where a vest is required (and this is pretty much at all levels now) is because you need impact protection from solid fences that won't collapse on impact like in the ring. I've crashed through my fair share of fences in the ring over the years and don't typically find my ribs/chest/or back being sore--it's usually other body parts.

I think it wise to wear a vest on the youngsters, I plan to when I start breaking my two young horses as the likelihood of me coming off and or crashing into something is simply greater enough for me to warrant that and I don't have a fully enclosed ring either.

Alterrain
May. 17, 2010, 04:30 PM
Too hot here in Cali, and the cons (bulky, hot, range of motion reduced, unflattering) outweigh the pros (in certain types of fall they may reduce certain types of injury).

I'm sure many will disagree, but for me these are the reasons.

betonbill
May. 17, 2010, 04:35 PM
I think it just isn't considered fashionable. Go for it--be a trendsetter. I seriously doubt that anyone will penalize you for it. They fought the helmet thing for a while--maybe they'll get on the safety vest thing too. If you fall into a standard and it protects your ribs you'll be soooo glad you had it on (not that I'm wishing that on anyone, mind you).

Trixie
May. 17, 2010, 04:36 PM
So I've gotta ask, why do so few jumper riders wear vests? I mean heck, the warmup areas are swarming with people riding--and jumping--even without HELMETS, let alone vests.

Where are you seeing that? Jumping without an ASTM approved hat is against USEF rules.

Go Fish
May. 17, 2010, 05:15 PM
Do vests fit over or under jackets? That's the only reason I could see where vests could present a problem.

Are there statistics to support vests preventing injuries? I haven't read any, but then I haven't really tried to find studies, either. I look at those vests and I have a hard time seeing where they'd be much help. But if they do, then I would support people wearing them.

It's an interesting question. I'm a helmet nazi so I'd be sort of a hypocrite if I didn't support wearing vests as part of the safety get-up.

InWhyCee Redux
May. 17, 2010, 05:18 PM
Because it is nigh impossible to find an off-the-rack vest that will fit you correctly if you're under 5' 8" and over 120 pounds? ;)

Trixie
May. 17, 2010, 05:21 PM
If I recall correctly, you can't be penalized for the decision to wear a safety vest or a ASTM-SEI approved helmet regardless of what sport you compete in, so if a hunter or jumper rider wanted to wear a safety vest over their coat, it's certainly allowable (without penalty) if not common.

BeeHoney
May. 17, 2010, 05:22 PM
Where are you seeing that? Jumping without an ASTM approved hat is against USEF rules.

Sorry, that came out wrong, I didn't mean at all to imply that there are swarms of people jumping without helmets, that's not the case that I've seen. I was referring mainly to the folks flatting or just riding around without helmets. But yeah, I was surprised to see a couple people jumping without helmets:eek: in the schooling area of the last show I was at, though it was not during show hours.

eclipse
May. 17, 2010, 05:26 PM
Sorry, that came out wrong, I didn't mean at all to imply that there are swarms of people jumping without helmets, that's not the case that I've seen. I was referring mainly to the folks flatting or just riding around without helmets. But yeah, I was surprised to see a couple people jumping without helmets:eek: in the schooling area of the last show I was at, though it was not during show hours.

Was this a recognized show? with a steward? Up here we cannot even ride without a number at a recognized show and forget about hacking/jumping/schooling outside of hours without a steward present, and if you don't have a helmet on or fastened properly you'll be asked to dismount immediately!

superpony123
May. 17, 2010, 05:26 PM
partially because they're expensive to get custom (yeah, like out h/j attire isnt costing an arm and leg, i know) and since off the rack ones dont fit everyone. i know i'd never fit in one. length wise im sure id be child size, but no way i'd fit in a child size fest, my ribs would not be able to expand! haha. plus, they're stifling hot. it's already hot enough to wear a wool coat and long sleeves under that. i'm not planning on piling thick foam or whatever's in there on top!! i get close enough to a heat stroke as it is !

plus, i'll admit, they're terribly ugly. i'd guess that at least 60% of people that dont wear it, their reasoning is because theyre hideous

also, fences int he ring collapse. it's not the same as falling into a pile of rocks or solid logs. there's a lot less impact usually.

poltroon
May. 17, 2010, 05:29 PM
Do vests fit over or under jackets? That's the only reason I could see where vests could present a problem.

You can wear them either way. I've never actually worn one with a jacket.


Are there statistics to support vests preventing injuries? I haven't read any, but then I haven't really tried to find studies, either. I look at those vests and I have a hard time seeing where they'd be much help. But if they do, then I would support people wearing them.

There are different vests out there, each with different data. The Tipperary is the least protective, but it is also comfortable, fairly protective especially for stadium riding, and elegant. The Tipperary is not protective against crush injuries, and is not likely to be a life-and-death deteriminer like a helmet, but there's no question that if you fall you'll be less stiff and get fewer bruises and be better off with a vest than without. There's a reasonable chance that in some accidents, it could be the difference between broken ribs or not.

poltroon
May. 17, 2010, 05:31 PM
Because it is nigh impossible to find an off-the-rack vest that will fit you correctly if you're under 5' 8" and over 120 pounds? ;)

I'm both those things and have a comfortable off-the-rack vest. I'd daresay most eventers are.

poltroon
May. 17, 2010, 05:34 PM
So the real answer to your question, Bee Honey, is that none of the top jumper riders wear vests. Therefore, few other riders do.

But what do you care? It's jumpers. You can't lose points for it. Wear one if you like. Be a fashion trendsetter. I happen to think they look really good for situations where jackets are waived, for example.

I am seeing a lot more riders wear them all the time.

enjoytheride
May. 17, 2010, 05:34 PM
Interesting because they basically fit in with the outfit in eventing and they fit every shape of person I have ever seen and allow plenty of range of motion. I would go with not fashionable and not as necessary jumping fences that fall down.

crazyhorses
May. 17, 2010, 06:56 PM
Where are you seeing that? Jumping without an ASTM approved hat is against USEF rules.

I see it All the time down here actually... It's interesting..

And we don't wear safety vests because we're just that bad ass. :cool:

Actually, I can barely breathe or move in one and it's too hot here!

BeeHoney
May. 17, 2010, 09:46 PM
So the real answer to your question, Bee Honey, is that none of the top jumper riders wear vests. Therefore, few other riders do.

But what do you care? It's jumpers. You can't lose points for it. Wear one if you like. Be a fashion trendsetter. I happen to think they look really good for situations where jackets are waived, for example.

I am seeing a lot more riders wear them all the time.

Thanks for all the replies!

I admit, at first the vest felt hot and uncomfortable, so I was quick to take it off after I got off a spooky or green horse. Over time I've just forgotten about it. The last few times I showed (without it) I almost felt a little funny, like I was changing my equipment on the day of the show. That plus my DH's request, plus knowing that I'll be on my fab horse Lightening McBuck makes me feel like I'd be tempting fate not to wear it...

FYI, I'm not the trendsetter...I'm involved with TB racing as well, and the track riders who work on my farm wear vests all the time, even when they are assisting on the ground or on one of the ponies. When my DH started worrying about me, they are the ones who gave me the idea that I ought to wear a vest, because we'd go out with a few babies and I'd be the only person not wearing one!

SkipChange
May. 17, 2010, 09:55 PM
I agree to some degree with ponyjumper--having evented and done jumpers I just don't particularly feel that a vest would really help me out a super amount in a manicured sand ring with collapsible jumps, although I'll happily wear it out on cross country.

Going to be completely honest here--when a jumper rider is seen wearing a protective vest, I'll bet you $5 more than one person is going to look that horse up and down, watch it go and wonder if something is up with that horse, is it unpredictable? history of accidents? I'm not saying this is PC, just saying I know people who think that.

Jive
May. 17, 2010, 10:01 PM
There is a GP jumper rider from Ontario Canada that competes with a vest.

About 5 years ago I had a bad fall that shook my confidence. Bought a vest and wore it while jumping at home but not at shows for maybe a year. It got to the point where i just found it too hot to wear.

I did see some girls on a schooling circuit up here that had tipperary vests with show coats over top. For some reason they way it fit did not make it obvious they were wearing one unless the back of their coats flew up in the wind.

rivenoak
May. 17, 2010, 10:24 PM
The biggest reason is because the types of falls and things to fall on or crash into are different.

Honestly, I've been most hurt on a stadium fence even though I've also evented and hunt. I once came crashing down back first through planks and 12 years later, my back still isn't quite right. A vest would've certainly lessened the damage.

Just today, before reading this thread, I was contemplating why I always wear a helmet, but only selectively wear my vest.:confused:

Across Sicily
May. 17, 2010, 10:38 PM
What Jive said - there is a GP jumper rider in Ontario who routinely shows with a vest. Not always, but very often. And she is generally near the top of the standings... so it's not some wannabe doing it.

A large population of my barn wears safety vests at all times when riding (which is probably overkill at 2'6", but hey, I can understand). Some of the girls show with them under their coats. Last week I know of at least one girl from my barn who did. It is not immediately apparent because you can't see it under the coat.

Dakotawyatt
May. 17, 2010, 11:05 PM
I have no idea if this is true or not, but one of the ladies at our local tack store mentioned the primary purpose of a vest is to protect against the horse stepping on you in the event of a fall. She said the sectioned vests (Tipperary ones) aren't Beta approved because the sections are big enough to allow a stud to puncture it. Makes sense to me, because I too have come off ... um, lots, and have NEVER (knock on wood) hurt my ribs.

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
May. 17, 2010, 11:46 PM
Too hot here in Cali, and the cons (bulky, hot, range of motion reduced, unflattering) outweigh the pros (in certain types of fall they may reduce certain types of injury).

I'm sure many will disagree, but for me these are the reasons.

Many girls at my barn in Houston wear them. They're not that bulky, that hot, and I have no concern about reducing the range of motion in my back and not found that range of motion in the shoulders or neck to be influenced at all.

No there's not flattering.

And if you'd even fallen on a jump cup and needed 10+ stitches you'd like yours after that too.

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
May. 17, 2010, 11:50 PM
What Jive said - there is a GP jumper rider in Ontario who routinely shows with a vest. Not always, but very often. And she is generally near the top of the standings... so it's not some wannabe doing it.

A large population of my barn wears safety vests at all times when riding (which is probably overkill at 2'6", but hey, I can understand). Some of the girls show with them under their coats. Last week I know of at least one girl from my barn who did. It is not immediately apparent because you can't see it under the coat.

A friend of mine (a young rider, ranked junior jumper rider, etc) wears one all the time. She shows in one too except in the eq. She rides GP's, showed at young riders the last two years, everything in hers. She says she doesn't feel safe without it.

NoExcuses
May. 18, 2010, 01:22 AM
FIRST I HAV TO GO A BIT OFF TOPIC, BUT... POLTROON IS JUST ABOUT ONE OF THE BEST PONIES ON THE PLANET!
Sorry, had to say it. A few years ago you did noy see many (any) "skunk" hats. Now everyone has to have one.
In the jumpers, the fences are more likely to fall, with the horse and rider getting free of the jump. In the jumpers for many classes you could wear a polo with a vest. For a classic you may want to wear vest under jacket. If you are comfortable and this added safety device could help you feel more relaxed.
In the hunters the word is "traditional" A judges call/
All USEF show require hats with harness secured. You could find your self in trouble with the steward. An accident can happen at any time you are mounted, many happen to and from the barn, or just hacking. Good Luck:yes:

InWhyCee Redux
May. 18, 2010, 01:12 PM
I'm both those things and have a comfortable off-the-rack vest. I'd daresay most eventers are.

What brand do you recommend? I am very short-waisted and can't bear to wear the Air-O-Wear I picked up at Dover years ago as it catches on the saddle pommel.

tegotong
May. 19, 2010, 01:41 PM
I think that it is because most jumper riders don't think they need one since it is less likely that a horse will fall or step on you when you crash as in eventing. As to helmets, I don't know if it is an Equine Canada rule or not, but the places I show insist that you wear an approved helmut at all times while mounted. Unless there is an FEI class - those riders do not have to wear helmets under FEI rules. So you often see the top riders not wearing helmets when they are exercising their horses in the dedicated FEI ring.

leilatigress
May. 19, 2010, 02:06 PM
The fact Smartpak was showing a vest while I was reading this thread is sheer coincidence. I do not wear a vest since I do not jump. My daughter who does ONLY Dressage at age 7 however does. Even when she is on the pony I make her wear a vest. However she has now outgrown said vest and I am trying to find one she and I both like to replace it. It may or not help her in a fall but to me the extra protection from bruised ribs is nice.

dani0303
May. 19, 2010, 02:17 PM
I've seen a few littler ones (<10) in the jumper ring wearing them. Other than that, there are very few.

I've personally never worn one because I've never felt the need. Over my 19 years of riding (and crashing) I can only think of possibly a few instances where it would have helped. It possibly would have saved me from a broken collarbone, but not the fractured neck that came with it.

I think it boils down to the fact that you're less likely to fall into something solid or have a horse fall on you in the arena. Sure it happens, but it's not as common as on cross country.

Moesha
May. 19, 2010, 02:35 PM
How many event riders where vests in the Stadium phase? Just curious? is it done a lot? dressage? since in most cases they are wearing jackets and are not wearing them over the jackets just wondered?

clm08
May. 19, 2010, 07:58 PM
Not many event riders wear the vest in SJ, but I have seen a few wearing them over their jackets.

As an eventer, I was shocked to see a GP rider warming up his horse over fences without a helmet!!! Not a USEF sanctioned event, but I thought it was nuts!

paw
May. 20, 2010, 12:20 AM
The only time I've ever worn a vest (15-ish years ago, cross-country), I had a fall magnified because I couldn't roll properly.

I know technology has come a long way since then, but I still don't see the need when I'm falling into h/j-type fences - I tend to hit the parts of my body a vest won't protect, anyway.

mg
May. 20, 2010, 12:33 AM
How many event riders where vests in the Stadium phase? Just curious? is it done a lot? dressage? since in most cases they are wearing jackets and are not wearing them over the jackets just wondered?

Some events run your stadium round right before your xc round, so the riders show up to stadium in their xc gear, which means their vests. Otherwise, I don't see many vests in stadium or dressage.