Model: Eventer - Protective Vest
Category: English Miscellaneous
Purchase: I purchased this vest from DoverSaddlery.com. I read European horse magazines and it seems protective vests are used there almost as much as helmets. I paid $199.90, on 4/26/04, without shipping as it was a combined order. I chose this model because it had the very best fit for me; I had tried on over thirty vests. I originally heard about the eventer vest when they sent me information about custom vests in the 1980's. They were located in Niagara Falls, as was I; and I must have gotten on a mailing list from magazine subscription or local tack shop. Their sales people, from Mississauga, have been very helpful at the Royal Winter Fair (A show I go every year to watch)in Toronto.
Likes: The fit was my number one criterion. This vest isn't a perfect fit but it is the best of all I have tried. The vest looks sharp with the horse logo (I have it in black, with black lacing). It stays pretty clean, and wipes off well. It doesn't feel too constricting, or hot. I rarely notice it, except when I occasionally catch the back flap. The little pieces of foam conform to my curves.
Dislikes: I could think of a few small improvements that would make it perfect. My biggest complaint is that it doesn't have shoulder pads as an option. I wear a separate shirt with shoulder protection underneath, and a neck protector (I hope to review both later). Second complaint is that it does not meet any of the ASTM, SEI, BETA ratings, but some of the lower priced vests do meet these criterion. Third, minor complaint, I have had to get a larger winter jacket to go over it, and it wasn't easy to find one that was vest and riding friendly.
Quality: The construction and quality is very good. I wish it had a heavier zipper, like the Mountain Horse boots have; I have to be careful to keep the little zipper teeth clean. You have to undo the laces every time you put it on to preserve the zipper. The laces were coming untied as I rode: but I now use the tying technique in the book More How Your Horse Wants You to Ride by Gincy self Bucklin on pages 77-78; it works. It is important to protect it from being too hot, in the sun, and to store it unwrinkled.
Summary: I am horrible to fit (like my horse). I didn't want to pay for a custom vest, in case it was something I couldn't get used to. (I have chaps I just never got used to; since they are custom, they'd be hard to sell). I'm wasp waisted and six foot tall, with long everything. I thought when I gained weight I'd have less fitting problems but I'm still wasp waisted, just bustier. I bought a tall large, labeled 40 inside. It says it fits chest from 42-46", waist 36-40", spine 23-25" and over shoulder waist to waist 34-38". My chest is 45" (bust heavy), waist is 30", spine 26", over shoulder waist to waist is 43". There is a hand's width between the bottom front of the vest and my belt (I try to wear a black shirt). In some riding pants the back catches on my belt when I go from jumping position to sitting position. It has accommodated a weight gain. Many shirts hang off my bust and make me look heavy, this vest still preserves my waist. I wish more people would wear approved helmets and vests. About half of the riders I know wear helmets, some haven't updated theirs though they aren't approved and they could have hidden damage since they have had falls. I am the only vest wearer. I have read the most dangerous time is bringing horses in from the field, second I think is accidents at the walk. Some consider it more dangerous than motorcycle riding. I often wear my vest and helmet the whole time I am working with my horse. I have but one skull, one brain, and anything to cushion my internal organs (which don't have spares) is a good thing. I rather walk around looking like a dork than not be able to walk around. I have been riding since 1970 and have seen several friends permanently injured with horses in that time; and heard of a few deaths. None were wearing safety equipment when they got hurt. Horses hit harder than football/hockey players, plus weigh hundreds of pounds more, but it is thought to be wimpy or unfashionable to wear protective gear. I want to be a good example for the next generation of riders.
Author: Petty Kash
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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