Our tester was excited to review this product because she has a bad back and was interested to find out whether this support device would be flexible enough to not hinder riding or activities, or whether it would limit them. Being happy with several Professional’s Choice products in the past, there were high expectations for the back support.
First thing first, the tester made sure to read the enclosed fitting / wear instructions in case there was a special way to apply the support. It all seemed routine. The height of the support, at the back, seemed a bit much at first. Measuring it against other supports, our tester realized that the height wasn’t a problem so much as the padding this one has. It feels bulky and odd, like you’ve got a double-issue magazine strapped to your back, minus the pointed edges.
Our tester was immediately pleased with the quality of the materials used in the support and the workmanship gone into making the product. Both seem like they’d hold up a long time.
From the manufacturer: Four way stretch neoprene allows full mobility and retains body heat. Moist heat therapy keeps muscles loose. Completely adjustable support is great for relieving tight or sore backs. Limestone-based neoprene relieves sore backs due to heavy lifting or sitting for long periods of time. Closed cell neoprene won’t crack or crumble. Retains original shape. Won’t absorb sweat. Easy to maintain. Hook and loop fasteners, slim styling. Ideal support for all types of equestrians from endurance riders to rodeo clowns. 30 day money back guarantee, 1 year warranty. Product specifically reviewed: PC-200 (Black, Small). Suggested retail: $64.95US.
Professional’s Choice states this brace can be worn under or over clothing; the tester had trouble with that. When applied over jeans and a tucked in shirt, the support slipped in a matter of minutes. With breeches (that don’t have as bulky of a waistband), it stayed in place only slightly longer. When worn under clothing and for long enough, it could potentially stretch out the waistband of your pants – this support has “slim styling”.
Moving a van load of boxes from one house to another, our tester found the perfect opportunity to really test out this support. After all, right on the package it says this product would be suitable for relieving sore backs due to heavy lifting. The more she bent down to pick up boxes, the more this support began to ride up. It offered no relief to the lower back and became uncomfortable enough that she finally removed it.
In credit to Professional’s Choice, throughout the countless adjustments made while trying to get the support to stay put, the hook and loop closures (as well as the rest of the support) still look brand new. Another positive, when worn over breeches and under a crash vest (an older model Intec Flex Rider with a tailbone protector), there was no feeling of restriction in any way. It didn’t alter the fit of the vest – something a rider is very picky about.
Approximately two and a half weeks into the testing of this product, our tester managed to throw her back out and ended up on the floor in agony. Even with help she could hardly get up, let alone think about doing anything else. How ironic that she was supposed to be testing out a back support when she hurt myself. After a few days of bed rest our tester was able to gingerly walk around and began thinking of all the chores to catch up on. One of them was repairing some horse fencing.
Typical to what our tester had experienced while reviewing this product so far, it rode up somewhat when adjusted as per the directions. Adjusting it tighter in an effort to stop the support from moving around only made it restrictive and uncomfortable. While outside, a sudden change in the weather brought cool winds – ones that make you shiver and tense up. Exactly what we didn’t need, but the neoprene material kept her back fairly warm. It was a pleasant surprise considering how disappointed she had been with it so far.
Overall, our tester was disappointed in this back support. This was surprising about a product made by a well respected company who builds their success on orthopedic and support products. Our only hope that our tester is in the minority with her experiences. She wanted to like this product and was very eager to try it out. As mentioned earlier, several Professional’s Choice products can be found in our tack room, however this one didn't offer much relief, comfort or support. Professional’s Choice seems to be constantly improving on their line of horse equipment, which is great of them. If they ever decide to re-vamp their back support, we'll be first in line to try the newer version.