Let’s be real – it’s been a rough year. The blog had to take a bit of a back seat for a while, but things are now back in full swing and I’m so excited to share this long-overdue post with you.
Most of you know that I’m a huge proponent for safety gear. Riding horses is more dangerous than we often realize, and it seems like the worst accidents happen when we least expect them; a horse tripping, at the mounting block, etc. There are of course the accidents that happen in more likely scenarios, like while jumping, but the point of it is, you never know when it’s going to happen. In addition to having had a few falls myself where a helmet saved my life, it’s why I always wear a helmet when on a horse – no matter what. No one is exempt from the laws of gravity, and tragic accidents happen to even the best in the sport.
Now let’s get talk about another important piece of safety gear – the vest. Traditionally vests have been bulky, uncomfortable, hot, and only seen in cross country or on kids. That’s starting to change, and I think that’s largely due to the innovation in safety vests by brands like Horse Pilot/In&motion. Their airbag vest is ultra-thin, breathable, lightweight, and discreet – making it something that you will actually wear. These air vests attach via magnetic clip to a leash that connects to your saddle, and inflate upon a fall. They protect vital areas like your back, neck, abdomen, and chest. When you think about the most tragic riding accidents, they generally involve injury to the head or one of the aforementioned vital areas, and it’s crazy to think we don’t take more care to protect them. In most other sports, there are many safety precautions taken, and it seems like in many ways, we’re just starting.
So what is it like riding in it? Well, I’ve been wearing it every ride for the past month, which has also been the hottest month of the year with temps reaching 110. I ride early in the morning to try to beat the heat, but lately it’s already in the upper 80’s by 7:30am. I can honestly say that I completely forget that I’m wearing it while I’m riding (so much so that on my second ride in it, I forgot to unclip myself before dismounting, and accidentally deployed myself. I have never forgotten again). I’ve been wearing it in it’s “light” form, which basically means it’s not zipped into any of the wearable shells which includes a vest, a bomber jacket, and a show jacket.
I have both the vest and bomber jacket, which I think will be perfect companions in Fall/Winter/Spring. You can also wear it over any other show jacket, just make sure to take that into consideration when choosing a size. Speaking of sizing, I wear the vest in a medium. I personally love that it’s slim fit, and actually is flattering on vs making me look bulky.
They are a bit pricey at around $825 for the “light” version and between $40 & $50 per replacement cartridge. I know that for a lot of people that’s out of reach, but I wholeheartedly believe it’s worth the investment. Safety vests don’t get more comfortable and sleek than this. I got mine from my parents for Christmas, but I would have saved up for one if I hadn’t. When I fall I tend to get hurt, even when it’s a small fall, and seeing as I can’t afford to take time off of work due to injury and just plain want to avoid getting hurt, I’m all about the airbag vest and am really happy to see them becoming more popular.
PS: Here’s a video of me trying it on for the first time and getting “blown up” at EQU Lifestyle Boutique!
Below are some US retailers that carry the Horse Pilot Airbag Safety Vest. If you have any questions, let me know!