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Foam Vest or Air Vest For Basic Riding?

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  • Foam Vest or Air Vest For Basic Riding?

    Hi. I'm a new member; an over-60 male re-rider starting again with equitation basics and perhaps proceeding to casual jumping; no competition or high fences. I had a fall two weeks ago when my horse spooked. I landed flat on my back. It wasn't serious but I don't bounce as well as 20 years ago. I've seen "tuck and roll" videos, but falling from a 16+h horse is a lot different from a somersault on a gym mat, and I have no way to actually practice it. I'm shopping for a safety vest and I'd appreciate comments on their effectiveness in common falls, and especially the effectiveness of foam vests vs. very expensive air vests. I found a few YouTubes by the makers, but no independent comparisons of the various styles and brands. I'm trying to determine whether air vests actually provide better protection or are only for more comfort. I'm especially concerned with protecting my lower back where I had a disk removed years ago and there's some arthritis. Thanks.

  • #2
    When the air vests came out there were threads on those.

    I have never seen one in use and only worn a regular vest a couple of times.

    The down side to the air vests was apparently that the cannisters were single use, that they make a loud hiss when they inflate which could scare a horse and if you dismounted without unlatching you'd trigger it and potentially scare your horse. Also debate on how much extra protection they really give.

    I think for a beginner rider like you the air vest is probably overkill but the regular vest is a good idea. It doesn't however protect your neck.


    Comment


    • #3
      I would definitely recommend a regular ("foam") vest. While some people do wear just an air vest, they are intended to be worn OVER a regular vest.

      Here is a recent thread on air vests
      https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/f...ould-read-this

      Janet

      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

      Comment


      • #4
        I actually use both. Broke my back due to a fall a year abs a half ago. Started with the foam vest. I feel secure in it and it does not hinder me. However- I get very hot in it. It’s great for winter because I can ride in the best and a tee, but I can’t handle the heat in the summer. I use the air vest when it’s warm. It is very light and I forget it’s on. Once I got off without unclipping, but it did not engage. I guess my tether was too lose. Concerned me that it might not break my fall in such a case.

        Comment


        • #5
          I recommend you go try them on if possible, and do ride in one. I have fallen with and without one, and far prefer to hit the ground in my Airowear Outlyne. I like the Racesafe vests, as well. They are hot, and tight, but you get used to it very quickly.
          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Didi View Post
            I actually use both. Broke my back due to a fall a year abs a half ago. Started with the foam vest. I feel secure in it and it does not hinder me. However- I get very hot in it. It’s great for winter because I can ride in the best and a tee, but I can’t handle the heat in the summer. I use the air vest when it’s warm. It is very light and I forget it’s on. Once I got off without unclipping, but it did not engage. I guess my tether was too lose. Concerned me that it might not break my fall in such a case.
            I've wondered about dependability of the gas "trigger" and the likelihood it scaring the horse and making things worse.

            Comment


            • #7
              If I recall correctly, air vests also have to be serviced by the manufacturer regularly, whether or not they discharge.

              Have a look at ASTM and BETA standards when comparing vests to learn about safety ratings and what the vests are expected to do/not do. Here is a nice guide with links to ratings/standards info: https://eventingconnect.today/2018/0...a-safety-vest/

              I second the advice to try them on as well. A BETA 3 is rated safer than a BETA 2 for high risk/high impact activities, but if the BETA 3 restricts your movement considerably more than a BETA 2, the BETA 2 may be better for your situation.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                This is the most helpful article I've yet read on selecting a vest. Some good comparative info on vest styles.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My air vest is new so I think it was a matter of the tether being poorly tightened. I have seen air vests go off in the jumper ring. If the rider gets thrown it dues not make enough noise to phase the horse. I did see a rider get thrown off balance enough to trigger it while she was still on and it really frightened the horse. The horse bolted and she fell off.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will just raise my concerns. It might not apply to your situation but still.

                    Is this your horse or a school horse?

                    As a beginner, you should be very careful in selecting the horses you ride or the type of trainer you want/need.

                    Riding is dangerous and it should be enjoyable.
                    You are starting back and you shouldn’t be falling off like that. I hope it was just a one time bad luck but be careful - you just shouldn’t be falling off at this point.

                    No one learn good skills or become a good rider by falling off repeatedly. You need to learn proper tools and skills before dealing with more spirited/complex horses.

                    What riders develop when riding unsuitable horses for their level are defenses - they learn to be tense and to get strong. Eventually, they either stop riding for being too scared or get injured.

                    If this is your horse, are you sure you are well paired?
                    I sure hope you do have a good trainer.

                    As for the safety vest - I own a regular foam one that I used on greenies.
                    The air ones are pretty good - It can scare the horse’s off but, usually they are already scared and taking off anyway. It can also surprise them and stop their shenanigans!

                    Since you already a lower back condition - Make sure you pick one long enough. The cheaper ones usually don’t extend that much.
                    Get one that is certified and make sure you try them sitting on a saddle at the tack shop when it’s properly fitted. Move your arms around and go into jumping position.
                    A good vest is like a good helmet - it needs to be well fitted.

                    Talking about helmet - Do you believe you should change yours after this fall?
                    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                    Originally posted by LauraKY
                    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                      I recommend you go try them on if possible, and do ride in one. I have fallen with and without one, and far prefer to hit the ground in my Airowear Outlyne. I like the Racesafe vests, as well. They are hot, and tight, but you get used to it very quickly.
                      The local tack shop doesn't stock any safety vests in men's sizes. Were you able to find your Airowear vest in men's sizes in OR?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would recommend a foam vest as well. Air vests aren’t intended to be worn alone. I also have an Airowear Outlyne that I really like. I’ve hunter paced in it in the summer and forgot I was wearing it. It does get a little warm but if you pick a shirt with a wicking or athletic fabric it does help. If your local shops don’t carry vests, somewhere like SmartPak could be a good option as they have free returns on sized items so you can try something on and exchange if needed.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
                          I will just raise my concerns. It might not apply to your situation but still.
                          He's a solid and seasoned 19 yr old TB school horse. I've been riding him for several months under supervision of a very experienced instructor. I fell when he was spooked as someone barged through indoor arena door right in front of him without looking or warning.

                          The helmet (C Owens, 3 yrs old) is good. I don't even think it touched the ground. No black dust on it from the footing though my clothes were covered.

                          Thanks for your comments.



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dwpc View Post
                            He's a solid and seasoned 19 yr old TB school horse. I've been riding him for several months under supervision of a very experienced instructor.


                            That is all good!

                            I fell when he was spooked as someone barged through indoor arena door right in front of him without looking or warning.
                            I hope this person has learned a lesson and won’t ever enter an arena without announcing themself.

                            [I]The helmet (C Owens, 3 yrs old) is good. I don't even think it touched the ground. No black dust on it from the footing though my clothes were covered.
                            Ahahaha.
                            I see you have everything under control.

                            Wishing you the best!

                            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                            Originally posted by LauraKY
                            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have everything from Tipperary to EXO (magnesium exoskeleton) to my current flak jacket of Charles Owen Kontact 5. Fallen in all. They are consistent in how it feels to hit. I am not a fan of air-vests due to their induced spinal rigidity when they inflate. Many riders have complain about not being able to breathe when the vest inflates. Additionally, there is little proof that the air vests work.

                              You can purchase a combination race vest as well.

                              There are plenty of vests for men. I recommend looking on the CO website. They have men's vests.

                              They are not foam, FYI. Most modern vests use a high density neoprene type of material.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                OP- I believe Gallops, in Tualatin, can or will order in a vest for you to try--give them a call, they are great to work with. I also recommend Smartpak, since they offer free shipping to you and for returns, which are very easy. Go to the Airowear website and use their measuring system, have someone measure you using a seamstress/sewing measuring tape, and order one or two different vests to try. That's what I did and found I am not an "off the shelf" size, so I have to order mine. I did not like the new Tipperary vest for me. The armholes were poorly placed for proper use of my arms when jumping.

                                I came off yesterday in a jumping lesson, of course, without my vest on. However, the spots I'm sore in are my elbow, hand and hip...none of which a vest would have helped this time. I regret not wearing it however. At my age (mid 50s) I need to take all the precautions I can because falls will happen, no matter how awesome one's horse is...and mine is pretty awesome....because, well, horses and people and speed and human error.
                                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wear my Tipperary every ride. If I am halfway to the arena and forgot it, I go back and get it.

                                  The Tipperary vests are unisex sizes and run very large. I am 5'6" and about 125 pounds and mine is an XS. I like them snug. Be sure to try it on with a saddle -- you don't want it too long in back and interfering with the saddle cantle.

                                  I am 67 and have saints for horses, but they are horses, and I am not taking chances. A few years ago, I had a horse buck after a jump and I came off. I had my vest on, and was amazed that I could get right back on (well, after a lunge!), and felt perfectly fine the next day.

                                  I was listening to an NPR show about bridwatching once, and someone called in and asked what the best camera is. The speaker said it was the one you are most likely to have on you and use. Get a vest you like and will wear. I prefer the high density padding ones over the air ones.
                                  Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ditto what Janet said. I would post your question over on the eventing forum since vests are required for cross country

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Please get a new helmet. Manufacturers recommend replacing helmets after 3 years anyway. Regardless of whether your head hit the ground, your helmet absorbed the shock of the fall, and any previous falls as well. If CO fits you, I recommend the new MyPS. It is reasonably priced and has the MIPS that performs outstandingly in tests. Dover Saddlery has CO helmets for 25 percent off. You can buy one mail order if there is no Dover or near you.

                                      The Outlyne is comfortable, but can be quite hot.
                                      Last edited by Room for a Pony; Jan. 5, 2020, 08:54 PM. Reason: Typo

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by dwpc View Post
                                        The local tack shop doesn't stock any safety vests in men's sizes. Were you able to find your Airowear vest in men's sizes in OR?
                                        I suspect you're out of luck. Some of the big mail order places don't have the full size range--make sure to look at the manufacturer's size chart as a hint to what really exists and be prepared to do some digging if need be. (Example: I am happiest in a Charles Owen XL; Smartpak only carries up to L and Dover only up to M!)

                                        Also be prepared for some back-and-forth shipping. I was *sure* I'd be happiest in a Tipperary, the measurement chart says I'm a perfect fit, but it was a total no-go. The CO fits perfectly. Go figure. Trying them on is really best.

                                        Comment

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