Skiing/Snowboarding Back Protector (breastfeeding)

Hi all,

Not sure if I’m posting in the right place, so apologies in advance. Not really a health issue but seemed the most suitable place to post!

Does anybody use a snowboarding/skiing back protector for riding? Is it suitable for riding?

I’m after a vest/waistcoat type back protector as I’ve just had my first baby (a gorgeous little boy, who is now 9 weeks old) I have my fairly standard body protector but it’s actually a kids size one and I know it definitely won’t fit me now, especially on the bust (which was once nonexistent, now fairly ample, for me, anyway!) And I don’t want anything constricting and restrictive over my chest because I don’t want to impact my milk production.

I’m itching to get back on my horse, but he’s an OTTB and there’s a chance he’ll be fresh (any horse with that amount of time off could be; I stopped riding as soon as I found out I was pregnant; personal choice
) and I don’t want to take a chance now I’m a Mummy.

All of the horseriding vest style back protectors I’ve seen have been a bit out of my budget but the skiing ones have been more affordable. Would they be suitable, or should I just bite the bullet and fork out for a proper equestrian one?

Thanks in advance!

It’s an interesting question. Its got to be better than nothing. It’s true we mostly come off on our backs and hips. But then what if the horse plants a hoof on our ribs jumping over us? I’ve honestly had very few falls in my life. One was over the head of a horse that tripped in very deep footing so I landed on my chest. The others were on my back. Two of these were green project mare spooking at the mounting block when I went to swing a leg over and fortunately I had on an eventing vest which let my aging body not get hurt.


Thank you so much for your reply!
I know what you mean, they only protect the spine and nowhere else. I rode for years and years without a body protector but have been a bit more sensible and a bit less confident as I’ve gotten older. I’m probably being a bit overcautious but just daren’t risk getting seriously hurt. But I do really want to get back in the saddle sooner rather than later.
My two concerns with a standard body protector are:
They’re so constrictive over the bust, I worry it’ll affect my milk supply
They’re also quite expensive and it’ll mean I have to buy a new one as my other one (which isn’t that old and wasn’t cheap) won’t fit me any longer (but I imagine it will again when I finish breastfeeding, so again, don’t want to fork out for another expensive one for it to not fit in a year)

I’m guessing I was hoping that a back protector would be better than nothing and protect me from any serious, life limiting damage (although I’m also hoping my horse is sane and doesn’t try to dump me in the first place haha! That’s plan A!) And I guess we all take our lives in our hands to some extent when we get on a horse as none of us have proper neck protection.

I think I’m just wondering if there are any major reasons why a ski or snowboarding back protector would be totally unsuitable.

Two things to consider-

NO back protector is going to protect you from “serious, life limiting damage” A riding back protector will protect you from a lot of soft tissue injuries (especially bruising).

A hardshell back protector (as many of the skiing ones are) will protect you from spine injury from a direct impact, but won’t protect you from soft tissue injuries.

The big difference between falling riding a horse and falling while skiing or snowboarding is that, with riding, you are falling from a considerable height, whereas skiing or snowboarding you are already at ground level. Force = mass times acceleration, and gravity provides considerable extra acceleration.

Anything is better than nothing, and I wouldn’t consider a skiing snowboarding back protector as “totally unsuitable”, but I wouldn’t recommend it either.

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Amazon has very inexpensive knockoffs of the laceup Tipperary vests-- they seem pretty similar to the Tips. I would think they might work— you could purchase a size larger and even lace the top half separately from the bottom so you could adjust the tightness more.

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Thank you all so much for your comments, I really appreciate them! Lots to mull over!

My last question on the matter, before I think again on all your comments and weigh up my options:
If I wore my standard riding body protector that is too small, but didn’t fasten up the front (so left it unzipped) would I still have decent back and rib protection, except for the sternum if I took direct impact or a hoof directly to the front of my chest? Would this be a better option than buying a back protector that only offers spinal protection?

Thanks again for all your responses and sorry for all the questions!

I’m far from a scientist (and I’m not sure you’re going to get a truly scientific opinion on this, although you might try posting on the eventing forum or pm-ing Rayers, who is.) I would guess any time you can arrange to fall on a layer of foam or have it between you and your horse’s hooves, it’s better than the alternative.

Have you tried letting out the sides of your vest? Many of them have some room for adjustment.

Thank you, yeah I think you’re right, so I may just stick with the one I have. I haven’t actually tried it on but I know because it’s actually a large child’s, there’s absolutely no room for the bust, and whilst the abdominal area has ties at the sides (which I will need to let out a bit as definitely not as slim as before) the main issue is that the upper chest area cannot be adjusted at all, and that is the area with the most significant change for me. I’ll try it on and see what I think. At least it’ll only be the very front of my body that isn’t protected if I decide to just wear it unzipped.

Thank you all so much for your replies, it’s given me a lot to think on and I appreciate all your insights very much!