Safety Vest Suggestions for Abdominal Organ Transplant Area


I have been on the hunt for a good safety vest. It has been mandated by my doctor if I want to start riding again. The thing is that quite a few that I see at my local tack shops are quite short in the front but longer to protect the spine. That’s completely understandable as that is their purpose but they don’t cover the area where I have two transplanted organs. Since they don’t have rib cage protection like the “native” ones, I really need a vest.

While I know that measurements are important to the proper selection of a vest, are there any companies that manufacture models that are a bit longer than the traditional eventer length? Do the inflatable sort provide this sort of coverage? I would use it for schooling. Is what I am looking for a pipe dream?

Cost is not an issue.

Thanks in advance!

I am someone from the other side of the transplant equation. After doing a liver donation I had a pretty big scar through the middle and off to the side of my abdomen. The surgery predated the arthroscopic procedures. I had to sit out for a while until I was healed up but never had to wear a vest. I’d be curious why your doctor thinks you need to wear a protective vest if you are healed and able to ride again?

Hi there,

Doctor thinks I need a vest because the “new” organs sit on either side of the lower abdomen (belly-button area - left and right) and no longer have the natural protection of the rib cage. There’s some flesh (obviously!) and then there they are so if they take a blow, there isn’t much protection. The same advice was given in regard to things like kickboxing.

Look at the Charles Owen vests. My Kontakt vest has good padding in the front.


Thank you for the suggestion, it does indeed look like a good choice.

What about a bull riding vest? It looks like some are longer in front than traditional equestrian vests. Not sure how they compare safety wise, but I’d imagine they’re just as good? Might be a hard fit if you’re well endowed, though.

In 1983 I donated a kidney to my brother. I have been riding ever since and yes had a few serious falls. My brother the recipient also does sports. I find doctors know very little about sports and risk. You need a life, Your great risk is a car accident and much more likely than being hurt riding unless you are taking big jumps.
do not let the doctor take away your joy with fear.
Remember the most dangerous thing all of us do is drive in a car, 70K deaths a year and over a million worldwide.
Go have fun!
If your organs hurt while riding build up your abdominal muscles and/or wear a old fashioned corset or brace for additional strength .
You may find a smooth gaited horse a good option.

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I have a Helite inflatable that zips into either a jacket or a zippered vest. It’s fantastic and would absolutely recommend. The front comes down past my belt. It’s lightweight, not restricting, and comfortable. In fact, I’ve hopped off a few times, forgetting that I was wearing it.

Thanks for your insight. I agree with you. Not going to “stop living” because that was the point of doing it, right? Hope your brother continues to do well!

And you are right on about a smooth gaited horse - that is on my “shopping list” when it is time. I got spoiled with my last horse so that is what I am kind of set on now. Didn’t consider the organ aspect, but it does add to that quality.

Thank you for the suggestion! I will have to spend some time looking into this one too. The fact that it isn’t restrictive and you forgot you had it on are big sellers for me.