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Finally! An Air Vest Study...Air Vest Users Should Read This!

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  • headbrickwall
    replied
    Originally posted by JER View Post

    How so?

    From what I understand, you're saying get a confidence boost when you wear your air vest. This confidence boost causes you to ride 'better' which you define as more forward and with more confidence.

    You then extended these thoughts to the generalization: 'the better you ride, the safer you are.'

    While I agree that 'better' riding is a component of safety, it's only one component of safety and it's a component of safety that at times has little value, like in a rotational fall.

    A sense of security is a good thing to have when riding a horse. But if that trust - that sense of of security - is placed in a safety device, it's a false sense of security if the device can't/doesn't perform as promised/believed.

    And then we get to what skydy just said about risk and perception of risk. The purported safety device might be affecting those metrics.
    I answered a very specific question about mindset from RAyers. I stated it was about me personally - someone riding well within competency limits and not Eventing/going Xc anymore. I stated how it made me ride better due to a perceived sense of greater safety (from what would be a soft splat on the flat if anything).
    I then also went in to say that whilst I could see how that mind set could be scaled up to Xc that it shouldn’t be relied on.

    You then extrapolated that to me saying that air jackets are a total placebo and that I think they make people safe and able to ride super confident because they will protect in a messy fall. Urm no. Re-read what I wrote.

    Taking my mindset and use of air jacket out of it (which was all I was responding to for the purpose of RAyers), my general view of them for Eventing as a safety device is the Jury is out. Not enough evidence to support their use either way. My gut feel is they probably do help in the majority of falls, or at least do no harm. I have a sneaky suspicion that time will demonstrate they have the potential to exacerbate injury in a minority of falls. Riding outside of your competency level or recklessly across Xc is not acceptable whether you wear a vest or not. Riding confidently Xc is a huge part of riding safely. I think if you are tackling Xc courses you shouldn’t be reliant on an air jacket for that confidence, it could come from your wider training.

    Leave a comment:


  • NoSuchPerson
    replied
    Originally posted by JER View Post
    (It’s also my favorite form of windproofing but that’s not a safety thing.)
    Also best sports bra ever.

    Leave a comment:


  • JER
    replied
    Originally posted by headbrickwall View Post
    No. You are taking comments completely out of context for your own agenda.
    How so?

    From what I understand, you're saying get a confidence boost when you wear your air vest. This confidence boost causes you to ride 'better' which you define as more forward and with more confidence.

    You then extended these thoughts to the generalization: 'the better you ride, the safer you are.'

    While I agree that 'better' riding is a component of safety, it's only one component of safety and it's a component of safety that at times has little value, like in a rotational fall.

    A sense of security is a good thing to have when riding a horse. But if that trust - that sense of of security - is placed in a safety device, it's a false sense of security if the device can't/doesn't perform as promised/believed.

    And then we get to what skydy just said about risk and perception of risk. The purported safety device might be affecting those metrics.

    Leave a comment:


  • skydy
    replied
    I think there is a valid concern that when an air vest provides a false sense of security, it may cause a rider to take chances that they shouldn't take.
    Last edited by skydy; Dec. 29, 2019, 05:38 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • headbrickwall
    replied
    Originally posted by JER View Post

    It might be comforting to think that but one glance at the fatality list on our WTF Are We Doing? thread tells a different story. There are some outstanding riders on that list who didn’t get there by riding poorly or without confidence.

    Like NoSuchPerson, I wear a conventional vest almost every time I ride. I don’t kid myself that it offers much protections from the really bad things but I know from experience that it helps with impact like if you get tossed into a jump standard or a tree. (It’s also my favorite form of windproofing but that’s not a safety thing.)

    The air vest is marketed as a safety product. Here, we seem to be saying that it’s best used as a Thundershirt for humans.
    No. You are taking comments completely out of context for your own agenda.

    Leave a comment:


  • JER
    replied
    Originally posted by headbrickwall View Post
    The better you ride the safer you are.
    It might be comforting to think that but one glance at the fatality list on our WTF Are We Doing? thread tells a different story. There are some outstanding riders on that list who didn’t get there by riding poorly or without confidence.

    Like NoSuchPerson, I wear a conventional vest almost every time I ride. I don’t kid myself that it offers much protections from the really bad things but I know from experience that it helps with impact like if you get tossed into a jump standard or a tree. (It’s also my favorite form of windproofing but that’s not a safety thing.)

    The air vest is marketed as a safety product. Here, we seem to be saying that it’s best used as a Thundershirt for humans.

    Leave a comment:


  • NoSuchPerson
    replied
    My experience is similar to headbrickwall. After a fall in which I broke 5 ribs, I went out and bought a regular protective vest when I started riding again. It didn't make me reckless, it just helped me stop worrying about being extra fragile and allowed me to keep doing the same things I was doing before without getting too anxious to function.

    I never really even considered an air vest. I was aware of their existence, but all I could think was, "What if I fall off and it doesn't inflate?" The idea of an air vest , unlike that of a regular protective vest, did absolutely nothing to instill confidence.

    I'm also intrigued by the suggestion that the "hug" of a protective vest helps reduce anxiety. It would be interesting to know if the effect is physiological as well as psychological, because I have always assumed that the reduced anxiety when wearing the vest was purely psychological.

    Leave a comment:


  • RAyers
    replied
    Originally posted by headbrickwall View Post

    Yes and no. I take your point for sure.
    But no ones perfect and not everyone is the same.
    The better you ride the safer you are. If a placebo jacket helps someone ride better then ultimately they will be safer. That is assuming that the jackets are a good thing in a fall, which isn’t a given, but wasn’t the point of my post.
    I understand your point and it is an interesting consideration that never crossed my mind. I like having my flak jacket tight around my chest but that is more of a mechanical aspect. I want to preload my chest in compression so if I hit, the tension forces (how everything breaks) are actually ameliorated slightly by having to overcome the compressive forces (e.g. tempered glass). I never really thought about the psychology.

    Yes, I have no imagination.

    At the same time, is there a difference between a standard flak jacket and an air-vest? We need to go back to the concept that biomechanically, the air-vest puts the spine into an inflexible position on activation, increasing the axial torsion and compressive strains on the vertebra (yes, a paper on spine biomechanics in relation to using titanium rods to increase rigidity is forth coming).

    Leave a comment:


  • headbrickwall
    replied
    Originally posted by JER View Post

    In other words, an equestrian version of a tin foil hat.

    The placebo effect is a very important medical tool but might be contraindicated when it comes to safety.
    Yes and no. I take your point for sure.
    But no ones perfect and not everyone is the same.
    The better you ride the safer you are. If a placebo jacket helps someone ride better then ultimately they will be safer. That is assuming that the jackets are a good thing in a fall, which isn’t a given, but wasn’t the point of my post.

    Leave a comment:


  • JER
    replied
    Originally posted by headbrickwall View Post
    I wear an air jacket a fair amount particularly in situations where I know I might need to ride forwards confidently. I find it really helps psychologically to know I’ve got it on - if I fall I believe I have an extra level of protection. As a result I ride better and it creates a positive cycle.
    In other words, an equestrian version of a tin foil hat.

    The placebo effect is a very important medical tool but might be contraindicated when it comes to safety.

    Leave a comment:


  • headbrickwall
    replied
    Originally posted by RAyers View Post
    How can an airvest increase confidence? I would suggest that this statement implies a lack of trust in one's skills on a horse. When I put on a vest (CO Kontact, EXO,...) I never felt more confident. In my mind a vest reminds me that I can be killed (I have had friends killed or seriously injured wearing vests) and I had better damn well ride up to and beyond what I trained to do. I know that in my training in eventing is the very old school idea that XC is the last 10 minutes of your life so you have to let it go and just ride.

    So, please enlighten me as to the mindset that an airvest creates and how is that different than wearing a regular vest?
    I can only speak for myself but these days I suffer from massive confidence issues. I’m a pretty competent rider but have quite serious ongoing back issues that have forced me to give up ‘risky’ horse activities. I still ride quality horses but only flat & hack with the odd gallop set these days. I literally can not afford to come off. It really plays on your mind and it can & does impact my response in situations where a horse might be a bit fresh/reactive. I back off, I shut down etc. I wear an air jacket a fair amount particularly in situations where I know I might need to ride forwards confidently. I find it really helps psychologically to know I’ve got it on - if I fall I believe I have an extra level of protection. As a result I ride better and it creates a positive cycle.

    Now obviously I no longer ride XC, but I could see how this could be applied there - although I would caveat that with not relying too heavily on it - training and psychology should take priority.

    Leave a comment:


  • SolarFlare
    replied
    Originally posted by RAyers View Post
    How can an airvest increase confidence? I would suggest that this statement implies a lack of trust in one's skills on a horse. When I put on a vest (CO Kontact, EXO,...) I never felt more confident. In my mind a vest reminds me that I can be killed (I have had friends killed or seriously injured wearing vests) and I had better damn well ride up to and beyond what I trained to do. I know that in my training in eventing is the very old school idea that XC is the last 10 minutes of your life so you have to let it go and just ride.

    So, please enlighten me as to the mindset that an airvest creates and how is that different than wearing a regular vest?
    I have a theory (disclaimer: I am not a scientist. I came up with this thought after reading some articles). There are some studies showing that deep touch (firm hugging/squeezing, etc) can help reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and increase endorphins. I believe weighted blankets act in a similar way.

    So, when we put on a safety vest, that fits tightly and squeezes us, would we not get the same effect? A lowering of anxiety and blood pressure, and release of endorphins? From there, would we not feel more confident?

    This wouldn't apply to wearing just an air vest, but in competition they need to be over a regular crash vest, so it's the tight vest in play here.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts as a scientist RAyers, as to whether this makes any sense

    Leave a comment:


  • DunByMistake
    replied
    I guess what makes me uncomfortable is I don’t read it as, “wearing a vest makes me feel more confident”. I read it as, “wearing a vest makes me more willing to take risks”. It makes me wonder if other riders are possibly overfacing themselves while wearing vests because they think, I have my air vest on so I am safe.

    I am with Reed that wearing a vest has never made me feel more confident. I don’t have an air vest but I ride pretty often in my regular vest due to riding on my own property and often alone. I do not embrace the attitude of more willing to push the limits just because of a vest.

    Leave a comment:


  • RAyers
    replied
    How can an airvest increase confidence? I would suggest that this statement implies a lack of trust in one's skills on a horse. When I put on a vest (CO Kontact, EXO,...) I never felt more confident. In my mind a vest reminds me that I can be killed (I have had friends killed or seriously injured wearing vests) and I had better damn well ride up to and beyond what I trained to do. I know that in my training in eventing is the very old school idea that XC is the last 10 minutes of your life so you have to let it go and just ride.

    So, please enlighten me as to the mindset that an airvest creates and how is that different than wearing a regular vest?

    Leave a comment:


  • CindyCRNA
    replied
    Originally posted by DunByMistake View Post
    I know this is a thread from summer but just wanted to post a comment an upper level show jumper made about air vests that made me *facepalm*. Ashlee Bond is sponsored by Horse Pilot and is going to be wearing their inflatable vest next season with her show jacket.

    ““I’m a mom, and I just think, also, that it might help to give you an edge because you feel more secure and [more comfortable] pushing the limits a little bit more.”

    The jury is still out on air vests and I sincerely hope more research will be done. But it makes me uncomfortable that this is the attitude of some riders towards air vests.
    I am more brave with my airvest for sure. Think of it as a boost of confidence.

    Leave a comment:


  • enjoytheride
    replied
    Originally posted by DunByMistake View Post
    I know this is a thread from summer but just wanted to post a comment an upper level show jumper made about air vests that made me *facepalm*. Ashlee Bond is sponsored by Horse Pilot and is going to be wearing their inflatable vest next season with her show jacket.

    ““I’m a mom, and I just think, also, that it might help to give you an edge because you feel more secure and [more comfortable] pushing the limits a little bit more.”

    The jury is still out on air vests and I sincerely hope more research will be done. But it makes me uncomfortable that this is the attitude of some riders towards air vests.
    I often find myself a bit more brave when I put my (regular) vest on, although it more makes me ride with more confidence and not ride with recklessness.

    Leave a comment:


  • DunByMistake
    replied
    I know this is a thread from summer but just wanted to post a comment an upper level show jumper made about air vests that made me *facepalm*. Ashlee Bond is sponsored by Horse Pilot and is going to be wearing their inflatable vest next season with her show jacket.

    ““I’m a mom, and I just think, also, that it might help to give you an edge because you feel more secure and [more comfortable] pushing the limits a little bit more.”

    The jury is still out on air vests and I sincerely hope more research will be done. But it makes me uncomfortable that this is the attitude of some riders towards air vests.

    Leave a comment:


  • vineyridge
    replied
    You know that EU standard that air vest manufacturers have met? I tried to read it, but couldn't find a version that was not behind a paywall. The standard itself is something that all sellers of protective equipment have to meet to sell in the EU. Cna't remember the number of the standard off hand.

    Leave a comment:


  • skydy
    replied
    Just ...wow. Why would anyone take that sort of chance with their head?
    One malfunction and you're toast.

    What happens if you land on something sharp? Does it puncture?

    Leave a comment:


  • riderboy
    replied
    Originally posted by jcraig10 View Post
    Tough subject, for sure.
    Yeah. A friend of ours in Sweden has this.

    Leave a comment:

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