by Nicky Moffat
Earlier this year, top event rider Laura Collett told the BBC that an air jacket saved her life, after she suffered a serious fall at Tweseldown on July 8th. She’s not the first rider to make this claim and no doubt she won’t be the last.
Air jackets are relatively new to the horse world with Point Two introducing their first one in 2009. Hit Air, a company which has mostly sold air jackets to motorcyclists in the past, has broken into the equestrian world, too, and earlier this year Treehouse Sporting Colours joined up with Helite Airbags with the idea of bringing safety and fashion together.
At first, it was just eventers who wore air jackets for the cross country phase of their sport. However, following on from the results seen from these jackets, many riders are choosing to wear them for other equestrian activities, such as hacking or hunting. They’re certainly worth considering when you weigh up the risks involved with riding horses.
How they work
The jackets attach to the saddle via a cord. In the event of the rider parting company with the horse, a trigger is activated, which punctures a CO2 canister and inflates the jacket to support the rider’s spine, neck and trunk.
They can be worn on their own or over the top of a normal body protector as they don’t really add any more bulk to your riding outfit until they inflate. It’s easy to see why so many top riders won’t set off on course without them. A small price to pay for added peace of mind.
Equi-Ads Magazine – Next Month; Look out for major feature by Kathy Carter on airbags. Ed