Though it’s not very common to fall off a horse, especially for riders at competitive levels, it can happen. And falls can cause some pretty severe rider injuries when they do occur. A great way to protect yourself from torso injuries is by wearing an airbag jacket when competing. In this post, we’ll discuss what equestrian airbag jackets are, how they work, and why you should consider one when for competitions.
What Are Airbag Jackets?
To understand what an airbag jacket is, you’ll first need to understand what an airbag vest is.Equestrian protective riding vests, or safety vests, are a piece of equipment specifically designed for horse riders to provide additional protection for the torso area. An air vest is a type of protective riding vest designed to reduce the impact of a fall by shielding the spine, ribs, and internal organs. An airbag jacket, then, is an equestrian riding jacket designed to fit an airbag vest. The jacket may come with an airbag safety vest built into it, or more commonly, it may be structured to allow for an air vest to be worn underneath. In either case, the jacket is designed to fit the rider comfortably, whether the vest is inflated or not.
Protective riding vests have been found to reduce the risk of injury for riders wearing them by 56%. They are now required in the cross-country portion of eventing competitions. Furthermore, the United States Pony Club (USPC) requires that members wear protective vests when riding in the cross-country portion of eventing competitions as well. Time will tell if other equestrian organizations will also start requiring safety vests. So, while not every competition currently requires them, we see this as an important sign for improving rider safety and believe that air vests are worth considering for any competition.
How Do Airbag Jackets Work?
An air vest has a cord or lanyard that attaches to the saddle. If the rider is ejected from the seat, it triggers the vest’s activation device. This, in turn, punctures an air canister, which releases air into the vest before the rider hits the ground. The air-filled vest then protects the rider’s torso from injury.
When riders practice, there’s no problem with simply wearing the air vest over a riding shirt. But, when competing, riders should wear a proper equestrian jacket, and that’s where airbag jackets come in. They maintain the sleek and fitted look of an equestrian jacket, while providing room for an air vest underneath. With an airbag jacket, riders no longer need to choose between style and safety — they can have both!
Best Equestrian Airbag Jackets
You may be able to wear many show coats over an airbag vest. However, a show coat that isn’t designed specifically to be worn with an air vest may not look its best. If you choose to wear an air vest, or are required to, why not select a show jacket made specifically for this purpose? Here are some of the jackets that we and our customers love at the Farmhouse.
We were so excited when Equiline came out with their first safety airbag compatible show coat! It offers the best of Equiline’s quality with an incredible fit. This show coat successfully combines style, comfort, and safety in one near-perfect jacket. It’s made of a bi-elastic, comfortable fabric that’s breathable, and it’s unlined to ensure a lighter and less bulky feel. The Equiline Airbag Compatible Show Coat is designed to work with theHelite Zip’in 2 Airbag, one of our favorites (sold separately). Customize it with an Alcantara or satin collar. This show coat comes in both navy and black.
Another show jacket designed to be worn over an air vest is this show jacket by Oscar & Gabrielle. It not only accommodates theHelite Zip’in 2 Airbag, but it also can be worn with theFree Jump Air Vest. (Both air vests are sold separately.) No longer do you need to choose between safety and elegance! This Jade jacket has a fitted and feminine cut with a very elastic and resistant fabric, which allows it to adjust its shape after the airbag inflates. It’s made of mesh and breathable fabric for great ventilation and airflow, so it’s comfortable in any weather. This jacket comes in a navy blue shade we know you’ll love.
This jacket also comes in amen’s cut in a shade of navy blue. Both are a hit at our store, and we know you’ll love this jacket, too.
Airbag Jacket vs. Equestrian Vest
The decision of whether to use an airbag jacket or wear an equestrian air vest under a regular show coat may come down to aesthetics. You can technically wear an air vest with any jacket, which may simplify your competition wear and provide more options for air vest brands. However, how your air vest will look with your show coat may be another story. An airbag jacket is designed to accommodate a specific air vest (or vests), so it will look sleek and fitted. Whereas, if you simply purchase a show jacket and wear it on top of your air vest, it may not look as good, and you may even need to go up a size to accommodate the vest.
Should You Consider an Airbag Jacket?
Who wants to decide between style and safety when it comes to horse riding? With a well-designed airbag jacket, you can have both. It offers the best of a show coat with a design that easily accommodates an air vest for your safety.
If you have questions about any of the airbag jackets we carry, give us a call at 864-457-3557. We’re always glad to help!
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