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I'm on a roll...Protective vest insight?

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  • I'm on a roll...Protective vest insight?

    OK all knowing COTH forum - there is always someone out there with great insight on all things horsey - so here goes...

    I never wore one of these in my life nor have my kids BUT I'm thinking it's a good idea these days. I am looking for wisdom and insight from those with experience with the vests.

    I think I can get my girls (tweens) to wear them without too much fuss though they do hate they way they look. They are now riding at a barn with a major pony jock who always rides in one so it may be an easier sell. If not - any ideas on the "sell" to wear one beyond - because i said so (which works too).

    In terms of brands - any opinions on these - Tipperary Eventer (longer and appears to be less bulky) vs Tipperary Lite (shorter and thicker) vs Intec

    I am a complete novice so comments are welcome

  • #2
    Basicly a vest is a vest. I get my from RiderTack.com, Since I gallop at the track, they are required, but in all honestly I don't think they do a darn thing. I still ended up breaking ribs and bruised a kidney from getting bucked off and I was wearing a Tipperary at the time. I wouldn't waste my money if I didn't have to. Invest in a better helmet instead!


    • #3
      I don't wear one, so I don't have any help for you there, but I think you'd probably get more advice on fit/brands etc. over on the eventing forum where they're mandatory for cross country.
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      • #4
        Hey there. I am an eventer and I have had a few falls with my vest on and I feel like it didnt hurt as bad, but I was also falling into things, not just on the ground. I dont think they are too important in just riding. I have been on some crazy horses and trained some babies and never wore it or even thought about it. I would really suggest asking on the eventing fourm because this is only one person opinions.

        as fo brand, I have the intec, and i like it. I feel safe in it. I have been in a tipp (the comfy looking ones) and they are comfy, but didnt feel like it would do much for me in a fall. My friend has one and she loves it! It's protected her for years!
        ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
        R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor


        • #5
          Make sure it fits well. We were required to wear vests while doing Equine studies in england. The girls with the cheap bulky vests that looked like a "bullet proof vest" complained CONSTANTLY about how they couldn't keep good equitation while wearing their vests. I was fine in my Tipperary (I used to event) but I've always wondered how much it really would help in a fall, seemed very thin compared to the "bullet proof vest" look of the cheap-o ones. But how much do they help either? If you're going to get one definitely try it on and check your range of motion before you buy.


          • #6

            There are standards that vests must meet to be considered protective enough for Equestrian sports.
            Intec passes thoses standards, but the vest is not very comfy as it must have the required padding and not allow an object to pierce the vest. To my knowledge Tipperary does not meet the safety standard and is uncertified. I supposed that is why they are more comfortable. Less padding and unprotective areas on the vest provide more flexibility and an easier fit but is that a good reason to wear a vest that as one of the posters mentioned did no good when they fell?


            • #7
              Just ride.


              • #8
                I wore a vest for a few years after a very nasty fall that ended up in a fractured vertebrae. Although I admit I don't wear one regularly now (I have when I'm on a green horse or trying something new and scary), I am a huge fan of them especially for kids whose bones are still growing. Sure, they heal faster than adults but if you can decrease the likelihood or the severity of rib fractures or internal organ injuries, all the better.

                I will say that falling was a much more pleasant, softer landing experience in my vest than without it. I definitely avoided a few extra bumps, bruises, and perhaps a cracked rib or two because I wore it. Of course, it isn't going be a silver bullet but in the right situation, it could make a world of difference in the severity of the fall.

                That being said, I took a lot of crap from other riders about it. Many people said that I was being stupid and that it wouldn't really help. I looked like an idiot along side of the other hunter/eq types. But it was my body, my choice. Its your kids so its your choice. I've heard the same excuses for why helmets are useless. You only get one brain, one body so if you are going to engage in a risky (yet wonderful and addicting) activity like riding, you might as well protect yourself the best that you can.

                I started out with a cheaper bullet proof vest type (I don't remember the brand) but it was bulky and hot. I also found that unless it was on super tight, it would shift a lot and I'd keep having to pull it down. I got the Tipperary and like it a lot better. Because it is separate pieces of foam and it has string down the side, it was much more adjustable for a good, tight fit. It also "looks" better in my opinion. I'd take your kid(s) to the tack store and let them try them on, jump around, and see which ones they like. Also, I second asking the eventers since they are required to wear them.

                Hope this helps! Good luck!
                "Function in disaster, finish in style, and remain at the center of your being." - Lucy Madeira Wing


                • #9
                  My vote is Rodney Powell. For less $ than a Tipp (if you order directly from the manufacturer in England), you can have a CUSTOM fitted vest sent to your doorstep in about 3 weeks. Plus, they meet the highest safety standards. And they can be altered as your girls grow if you need to add a longer back panel, etc.

                  But definitely search the eventing forum. You'll find lots of good info there.
                  Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                  You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                  • #10
                    eh, i would probably never wear one. my idea is that a) i am not going to ever ride a massive horse (im only 5') that i feel unsafe on (i know, horses are never totally predictable, blahblah) and b) ehh. i dont like to feel restrainted. c) i overheat very easily, i cant imagine wearing one in the summer i'd pass out. d) if they're not going to be out doing hunter paces or jumping around in the outdoors or falling into very solid objects (i.e. a coop or a giant log jump, like those youd find on an XC course) i dont think you really need it. does it hurt? no. i mean, better safe than sorry i guess, but i don't think it's something that every kid should be forced into wearing.

                    and, if your kids are just riding ponies (granted, i do not know how young/small your kids are) they are not exactly falling from a great distance (sure, pony can still throw a fantastic buck or give you a great fall) and while i am sure it could be helpful in a fall, it probably isnt going to make a huge difference.

                    however, again, i've got nothing against safety. if you really want one for yourself and your kids, i think you'd find more answers on the eventing forum

                    Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


                    • #11
                      Congrats to you for trying to make riding as safe as possible for your children.

                      I do not ride in a vest every time I ride but I do ride in one while jumping, riding a green or temperamental horse, or on days when I just think some extra padding might be nice.

                      As another poster said riding vests are "approved" to different levels. Since they haven't been around or required (in some disciplines) for as long as helmets the "levels" aren't as well defined or well known.

                      In United States Eventing right now protective riding vests are required for X Country but there is no mention of what level of approval is required.

                      Most (if not all) solid vests are approved higher than sectional vests which should mean that they are safer.

                      Here is some info on safety rating:

                      Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                      eh, i would probably never wear one. my idea is that a) i am not going to ever ride a massive horse (im only 5') that i feel unsafe on (i know, horses are never totally predictable, blahblah)
                      Every persons decision but not sure how the size of the horse effects the need to wear a vest... ask anyone who owns a naughty pony.

                      Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                      b) ehh. i dont like to feel restrainted.
                      This is one of the biggest complaints with the solid vests. New technologies are coming out that make them more comfortable (such as Charles Owen's new gel vest) and from personal experience the solid ones mold very well to your individual shape after a few wears, especially if worn in warm weather,

                      Also, be very sure that you fit the vest correctly, having worked with the CO rep I was surprised how snug they should be. Most people wear them too long in the back as well as too wide, which aids in discomfort.

                      Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                      c) i overheat very easily, i cant imagine wearing one in the summer i'd pass out.
                      I cross country school all summer and I haven't found that it makes me over heat faster than not wearing one. Actually taking off my helmet (while on a break between fences) actually cools me down faster than taking off the vest.

                      Not picking on you Super Pony, just my personal experience after many years of vest wearing.
                      Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to buy a horse


                      • #12
                        As an older lady with some health issues that require me to be as safe as possible, I wear one when I am taking my lessons(gymnastics-jumping). I originally tried the Intec. Yikes they are so uncomfortable and bulky. I think the best bet is to have your kids try on a few different brands(maybe at an Equine Affair that are held in many states). Many tack shops also carry smaller sizes.


                        • #13
                          I'm an eventer. I own a tipperary.. I believe the only reason they are not rated is because the foam is not a solid piece. I've owned a flex rider in the past... LOVE my Tipp! Everyone in my prior eventing barn had a Tipp. It's also a vest that's easy to put a coat over should it start raining or get cold. Even if you don't use it everyday, it's nice to have around if you have a horse you think might be a little unruly for that little added protection.
                          I've never tried on the CO.. but had friends try them on when the first came out with the gel vest and they said they were pretty heavy.. not sure if they've changed. I've put on the Rodney Powell and it is quite nice for a solid vest.
                          The solid vests tend to be hard when first put on... given some time once they heat up they do mold to your body better and become more comfy. But this is generally a process you have to do every ride.
                          The best thing to do is find a tack shop that carries a few brands and try them all on.. or if you're anywhere near KY in April during ROLEX... you can try on every brand known to man as they are all there. No vest is going to protect you from everything, but they do help reduce the impact and lessen the injuries you might receive. I can also see since they are in the tween group that their choice of vest will also depends on the color combos they can choose.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LARGEBORE View Post
                            There are standards that vests must meet to be considered protective enough for Equestrian sports.
                            Intec passes thoses standards, but the vest is not very comfy as it must have the required padding and not allow an object to pierce the vest. To my knowledge Tipperary does not meet the safety standard and is uncertified. I supposed that is why they are more comfortable. Less padding and unprotective areas on the vest provide more flexibility and an easier fit but is that a good reason to wear a vest that as one of the posters mentioned did no good when they fell?
                            Not exactly true.

                            The Tipperary Eventer is not rated because the spaces between the foam pieces allow for a puncture, that is true. Not sure that puncture wounds are very common or much to worry about in the grand scheme. This is why it does not meet Beta 3. Beta is the British Equestrian Trade Association. In North America we have ASTM. Tipperary makes an ASTM approved vest....not sure what it is called but jockeys are wearing them. I have also heard that Tipperary is coming out with a Beta 3 vest as well.

                            I would suggest that if you want something certified, familiarize yourself with the different standards first. Then try them all on.

                            I have a Beta 3 Rodney Powell and find it way too hot and restrictive. I am back to wearing my Tipperary Eventer. I feel safer in a vest that I don't notice that does not impede my ability to move. Until I see some better proof that the ratings really do translate to a safer vest I will remain in my Tipp. Plus most UL riders I know all wear them so they can't be that bad.
                            "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


                            • #15
                              I used to have a flex rider and honestly only wore it a handful of times because it was so resrictive. Even after it warmed up a bit it was so stiff I couldn't get my jumping position right in it without a struggle.

                              I now have a tipperary. I love it. I admit I don't wear it tons (but I don't event and have been doing tons of dressage lately so I think that's reasonable) but when I do I don't notice it. It isn't hot, doesn't get in my way, and I can maintain proper position.

                              That being said though, since I got it I haven't take a fall in it . I have a few friends who event though and they ALL have the tipperary and have fallen and had no major injuries despite some pretty bad falls. Can it be proven that was the result of the vest? No. But, if I am in a situation any riskier than normal jumping I wear mine fwiw.

                              I do suggest trying to find somewhere where they can be tried on though as you and your kids are the best judge of what is comfortable for you.
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                              • #16
                                I have the Tipperary Racer vest. The back doesnt come all the way down to the bottom. I find it light weight and very comfy. barely notice its there. I had never ridden in a vest before, I thought they would be bulky and destroy my eq, but Ihave no problems with my vest. I bought it because I was getting on youngsters and wanted a bit of protection "just in case"

                                It will not prevent you from receiving absolutely no injuries in a fall. NO vest can do that but it certainly can minimize the damage done. Think about how much worse injuries could have been, to those who were injured with a vest. No different than helmets. I've had concussions while wearing a helmet. Would have been a hell of a lot worse if I hadn't had one.

                                Honestly, at 28 years old now. I dont think I'll get on any more young horse or jump without a vest on at all now. i just cant afford to be seriously injured.. I'm all for vests for children.

                                ETA- OP if you want your kids to wear them, enforce it.. Don't ask them if they want to, make it a condition or no riding. Even if you just enforce it for their over fence work/schooling.
                                I dont wear mine to show in, though I have seen kids in my area do so.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  Thank you

                                  Very helpful information and personal insight as always. I grew up with the "just ride" attitiude and I admit it has served me well in life. Thankfully my kids have similar attitudes which is great because we can't / won't buy the "push button ponies". As a result ,we end up with fairly spectacular but often tough and tricky green mounts.

                                  I think it is a good idea (geeky looking or not) for me to do what i can to keep them as safe and confident as possible. I realize it's a fine line between wrapping them in "bubble wrap"/getting them nervous about riding and going for it to the point of danger.

                                  thanks again


                                  • #18
                                    What about the airbag vests

                                    I've heard they operate like an airbag and use co2 cans to inflate should the rider become separated from the horse.

                                    I havent seen a picture of them yet.


                                    • #19
                                      My daughter events and she has the Tipperary. She tried on the Charles Owen and found it too restrictive. It is supposed to mold to your body but we were in that tack shop for a long time on a warm day and that thing didn't budge! She sat in one of the demo saddles and said she just felt so uncomfortable she couldn't imagine actually going cross country in it. So we went with the Tipp.

                                      I would also be cautious about ordering anything without trying it on. Just going by my daughter's measurements, she would have been a size larger than what actually fit her in the store. Also, since the Tipperarys come down in the back you want to make sure your daughters can sit in the saddle comfortably.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                                        d) if they're not going to be out doing hunter paces or jumping around in the outdoors or falling into very solid objects...
                                        Does your arena not have walls or fenceposts? Your trails not have rocks or trees? Your horse not have hooves?

                                        Obviously one can make oneself crazy by considering every last possible danger, and obviously at a certain point, we all have our own comfort zones. But steering clear of XC obstacles does nnnot eliminate your chances of falling into very solid objects.

                                        "The present tense of regret is indecision."
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