I don't jump, event, or compete; but I'm 48 years old, and I ride a sassy horse who is not anything like bomb-proof. I'd like an every-day vest just like I have an every-day helmet. But the price (and the Air Jacket debate) deters me. And, truthfully, the heat deters me. Why on earth do they make these things black? I'm in Texas!! I have enough trouble wearing a shirt!!
I found the FlexRider very large and kind of uncomfortable--like wearing a fat suit, and I'm fat enough already. The Lamicell one looks better. I think that any of them are probably decent protection for most rider falls (different if the horse falls on top of you), to be honest. I have a solid, certified one now--the Airowear, but I had the Tipperary Eventer before that and fell off in it a number of times without injury. The best choice for you is probably going to be whichever is most comfortable for you, because if it's not comfortable, you won't wear it anyway.
I have an old version of the flexrider. It takes some getting used to, it took awhile for me to stop fighting it. I recently did a somersault after a drop fence, landing on my shoulder and tail bone - I'm thinking I would have been one hurting puppy if I had not been wearing it... I just dusted off.
That said - I am "well endowed" and it sucks to fit - and at the moment I'm a bit on the chunky side, so it does no favors.
I have been thinking of getting the Tipperary or that Intec, but I also wonder how well of a job it does in protecting me. I know my stiff flex rider will take a good knock, but I also feel like it inhibits me a bit.
I have this one, I love it. I wear it both in the saddle and for handling and turning out the babies, it doesn't get in my way and I really don't notice it's even there. It doesn't make me much hotter either, even if I have it on for a while and its hot and humid and sunny.
I have a Casel-Equi (similar in design to the Tipperary) and wear it all the time on the trail. The extra protection makes me feel more confident since I don't bounce like I used to. After I had worn it a few times, I forgot I had it on. I know some of the younger riders at the barn think I'm a weeny, but honestly, if it's what gets me out on the trail by myself, who cares?
Although I've never purchased one and those others at the barn have are too small for me to try on properly (since they're mostly average sized women and I'm an average sized guy), I've wondered whether other than for the hefty 'horsey' premium on all riding goods, there's any material difference between an equine body protector and the light body protection armor for hockey players, most of which is way less expensive due to a bigger market and competition. The two kinds of protectors don't look all that different and the cushioning seems comparable, though the hockey torso protectors seem more flexible.
Ice hockey checks, collisions and crashes can be about as brutal as anything can be to the torso and getting butt-ended (i.e., the end opposite the blade) with a hockey stick at high speed or crashing into the goal isn't materially different than colliding with a jump standard or other fixed object. Hockey equipment is designed to meet those requirements and its manufacturers have the same legal liability issues to mitigate for their sport as riding equipment manufacturers have for theirs.
I understand all the formalities about "standards" and am sure the hockey equipment manufacturers don't submit their body armor to be assessed for riding, but possibly somebody on COTH has experimented.
I am pragmatic. At the end of the day what counts is whether or not you get hurt in a crash. Certification is no solace if you're injured anyway.
If I knew what I were doing, why would I take lessons?
"Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein
I only paid $120 for mine, certainly not up there with the Tipperary price, for instance. It has the appropriate certifications. I'm in my 60s and bought it when my rambunctious youngster was 4. He's coming off a layoff for injury now (at age 6), and I ALWAYS wear it. The only time I've not worn it is at a show - and I wore it in warm up and I HAVE worn it during dressage tests at shows if the venue was a "spooky" one. Better safe than sorry. I knew by the rules the judge was not supposed to penalize me for the vest (i.e., "safety equipment"), but I checked with him just to be sure, and he said, "by all means wear it. No problem.")
I have & wear the Intec Flex Rider and I've always been pretty happy with it. I did have to take some time in the tack store to make sure I had it fitted correctly, and it's a bit stiff to wear in the cold, but it's BETA 3 certified, and the Tipperarys are not. (Honestly, and I realize they are made out of entirely certified materials but just not put together in a way that 100% passes the test, they scare me, especially watching kids ride in them.)