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Safety vests

English rider here. A friend who rides western is interested in a safety vest like I wear for eventing. She is an excellent rider and is fit and strong, but has health issues that make her prone to breaking bones if she falls. She rides trails in the mountains. Our area is heavily forested and rocky. Her horse is sensible, but green, and things happen…

She is leaning towards a “solid” vest rather than an air vest. I can certainly offer advice on those, but am concerned that her vest could get hooked on the horn of her western saddle. Is that a thing or am I being overly cautious? Do any of you western riders have experience or thoughts on vests?

After a fall in which I broke some ribs, I wore a protective vest (Airowear Outlyne) when riding in both western and English saddles.

I guess it would be possible to catch the bottom of the vest on the saddle horn. I mean, I’ve heard of women getting their bra caught on the saddle horn and I once managed to hang myself off the side of my horse by my T-shirt while dismounting.

However, I never felt at risk of catching my vest on the saddle horn. The vest is short and fits very closely, unlike that T-shirt, which was long and baggy. I think the potential benefit of the vest far outweighs the very small risk of catching it on the saddle horn during a fall. Over the years I’ve fallen out of a western saddle over the front, over the back, and off the side and in none of those falls would there have been any chance of a protective vest (if I had been wearing one) catching on the saddle horn.

I think the best idea is for your friend to go someplace that sells the vests and try on several styles. She can figure out which style will best work for her body shape and with her saddle.

Probably overly cautious.
Because as other posters mentioned, you can get your bra caught on the saddle horn, your belt, your shirt (such as a button up), etc. So the vest technically wouldn’t add any additional danger to the clothing already on your back!!