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Equestrian sports are one of the most dangerous sports with the highest injury rates among the riders. The worst injuries include spinal damage, rib fracture and dislocations in the shoulder region.
Aside from horse riding insurance, one of the best investments you can make to reduce risk is equestrian vest. Air vests have been growing in popularity in the most recent years as they are the most comfortable option that provides the highest protection. There are multiple brands that sell non-inflatable jackets, there is however less choice when it comes to the air jackets.
Best Equestrian Air Vests in 2021
- Editor’s Choice – Point Two ProAir Horse Riding Airbag Jacket
- Runner-Up – Mark Todd unisex air jacket
- Third Place – HIT AIR Airbag Vest
Point Two ProAir Horse Riding Airbag Jacket
Point Two air jackets are the best selling air jackets worldwide. Point Two was one of the first brands that introduced this safety product. Their jackets have a lifetime guarantee, provided regular servicing. They offer four different air vests:
- ProAir the most popular and versatile model, buckle fastened in front. Suitable for wearing on top of your usual non-inflatable vest
- Hunter similar to ProAir but zip fastened
- Soft Shell Slimmer and more discreet design compared to the other Point Two vests, provides a smaller protection but good for everyday riding and training.
- ProAir Child designed for kids (the vest is smaller)
All of the above vests are a nice clean, unisex design. The most popular and best selling color is black, but other colors are also available: dark blue, light blue, two different shades of green, pink, purple, orange, yellow, brown and red. Adult sized range from S (small) to XL (extra large). Full sizing guide can be found on the official Point Two webpage.
The vests come with one free canister and saddle attachment. This means it is a complete set and nothing extra has to be bought. In case of an accident and an explosion the canister will need to be exchanged for a new one. Additional canisters have to be bought seperately and suitable for Point Two vests.
The Mark Todd jacket is a similar design to the Point Two jacket, but is a little cheaper. It might seem they were basing their product on the ProAir Point Two model. The vest comes in black color and a full range of sizes. The front is bucke seated. The jacket comes with one free canister and a saddle attachment. These jackets were unavailable for sale in 2020 but might appear back on the UK market soon.
Another UK originated brand specialising in inflatable air vests dedicated to the riders. Their product range is very similar to Point Two but the size range varies (XS-L), being probably the only available option for shorter, petite built people. When it comes to the price, they cost just the same as the PointTwo models.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are equestrian air vests for?
Equestrian air vests are vests used during riding that provide an additional protection for the spine in case of an accident. They can be used instead of a typical non-inflatable protection vest or together with it. Equestrian air vests aren’t obligatory in riding schools or on the competition grounds but are a personal measure towards safety. Air vests are versatile and can be used for the following:
- Day to day use
- Show jumping
- Trial riding
Are equestrian air vests reusable?
Equestrian air vests can be used over again as long as a fall does not take place. When a rider falls the carbon dioxide canister in the air vest explodes, inflating the vest. The canister is not reusable and has to be exchanged for a new one after every fall. The cost of a new canister is about £20.
How do you use an equestrian air vest?
Put on your horse riding air vest as the top layer of your clothing. If you are an eventing rider according to the FEI rules, wearing an air vest does not free you from wearing a typical material/foam vest (in that case put on your air vest on your normal eventing vest). Once you are on the horse, attach a cord from your air vest to the saddle. Pulling of the cord triggers the explosion so make sure you detach the cord before getting off the horse.
To clean your vest use a sponge lightly soaked in warm water. Do not wash your air vests in a washing machine or dip them in water completely.