Last week, I asked you all to let me know if you use an air vest or a protection vest. There were some pros/cons in articles I’ve read, plus explanations of usage. The original article is posted here.
MY OPINION – I’m going to get an Air Vest.
After reading all of the comments (a few selected below), I think for the type of riding I do (light trails), I’m going to purchase an air protection vest.
Now, one reader basically said that if I needed a vest for trails, then I was no longer a rider. And, that might be partly true. For 30 years, I bred/raised/trained all of my riding horses. So, we were very close and there was a strong bond and trust. I do agree that purchasing an adult horse and then putting that horse into training, is not the same as rearing a baby and living with them for their entire lives.
Having said that, I no longer wanted to breed or train, so I didn’t have many options. And, as I get older, I sense that I won’t bounce as well as previously… and of course, there’s the new hip to think about.
So… I might be an ex-rider, but I’m going to try everything out there to continue to love what I’ve loved doing for my entire life.
ACTUALLY, this person said it very well… read her story on why she wears and Hit Air vest… click here.
SOME COMMENTS FROM READERS WHO USE EITHER AIR OR PROTECTION VESTS
1- While I have not used an air vest, I’ve seen one in use and deployed.
It was in a clinic situation with about 20 horses and riders cantering in an arena. A horse spooked, rider came off, and her air vest went off so quickly and worked so well that she got right back up and was able to continue. I don’t think she even had her breath knocked out . The woman was in her late sixties. The noise was quick and didn’t seem to cause a commotion with any other animals.
2- One of my trail riding friends used a protection vest for a while and found it was too hot and restrictive in our Florida heat. She has switched to a minimal looking air vest and is very comfortable. We have to remind her to unclip before dismounting sometimes! LOL
3- I have an Air Vest but am saving up to purchase a Kanteq, a European brand.
The Kanteq vest was brought to my attention by Dawn Champion, who was a professional motorcycle racer and is an endurance rider who promotes Scoot Boots.
Her videos are exciting!
4- I’m an old eventer and I own a protective vest (required for lower levels). It’s warm, but not restrictive. I’ve never used an air vest, or wanted one. I know so many people who’ve hopped off their horse w/o unhooking the trigger cord. Not only is that expensive, but horses react badly to the sound, and in their eagerness to get away, have injured people or themselves. One has to accept the fact that riding can be dangerous and there is no gadget that will eliminate the risk. Riders who can’t come to terms with the innate danger involved in riding horses are called former riders. I have never skied b/c I didn’t want to sustain an injury that would keep me from riding; pick your poison.
5- I ride in a Hit Air vest. I won’t ride without one. I’m almost 70 yrs old and have had more riding accidents in my life than I can count. I don’t mind dying but I do not want to spend the rest of my life in a wheel chair. The first time I wore it, I did come off, it inflated before I landed and it saved me.
6 – I started with a hard vest as I have osteopenia (weak bones) which I’ve had for years. Moved up to an air vest as I was worried about my neck.
Several months (!) later, it deployed when my horse sent me into a summersault above her before slamming into an old gravel road bed. She just stood still after. I did bust up my clavicle, as I hit at the point of the shoulder, but it could have been much worse. The ER dr told me I would not have survived without the air vest. The vest blew up around my neck and I only had a minor fracture on one of the neck vertebrae, no displacement. Without it, it would have been fatal.
I mainly trail ride and wear it religiously now (I promised my husband) even in Virginia’s hot hot summers. You just never know, I’ve only been thrown twice in the last 30 years, but both have been hard falls, the first resulting in a broken back. Best would be both types of vests, but that’s a lot to wear when it’s hot.
THANK YOU, EVERYONE!