Airbag for riders? Our athletes give their opinion

12 July 2019 ,

Knowing the rider’s needs when it comes to both safety and appearance, we challenged ourselves to create an equestrian airbag which combines comfort, protection and discretion.

safety stakes in horse riding

Horse riding is a passion but also a dangerous sport, at high level as well as in leisure activity. The prospects for further improvements in terms of safety for the riders are still important. Just like the helmet several years ago, the airbag is a protection that still needs to become part of the riders’ everyday life. 

Far from rigid textiles and unaesthetics protections, our experience with innovative textile materials has enabled us to create, with In&Motion company, a new generation airbag combining comfort, protection and discretion.

The airbag is zipped under a garment similar to a close-fitting sleeveless vest carefully designed: a very thin and stretchy layer that does not add any weight to the vest, while still supporting the inflation of the airbag. Easy to hide under the compatible show jacket.

WHAT IF YOU JOIN THE MOVEMENT TOO?

Even the greatest riders are aware of the danger in horse riding. Therefore, our athletes give their opinion on the wearing of the airbag during practice as in competition. 

Guillaume Canet: I have seen too many accidents of truly excellent riders…. I found it completely crazy that today, even with all the progress in technology, you do not wear an airbag jacket in a sport that can be that dangerous. It used to be a kind of loose, non-ergonomic and uncomfortable clothing. Now, these constraints have disappeared. Whether I wear an airbag jacket or a simple jacket, I do not even see the difference and I am relieved knowing that if I fall off, my spine and neck, or even my vital organs would be safe. Knowing that if you fall off, you find yourself under a 600 kg horse [which actually happened to me. I fell off at the age of 18 and broke all my bones on the right side. I could have had serious aftereffects] it is very important to protect you. 

I think the airbag vest will become mandatory at some point. It would be great if brands like Horse Pilot could sponsor professional riders, because I think that from the moment professionals will wear this airbag vest, all riders will follow the trend. It is up to professionals to show the example and to use one first. “I do not wear an airbag vest, I do not need one”, but just one accident without the airbag is enough to ruin a life. We have already seen that, even with the best riders: there are sometimes dramatic consequences. When the airbag was too heavy, uncomfortable and unaesthetic I could at least understand the riders’ hesitancy, but not anymore. Riders like Marie Hécart, for example, tell me that when she has to ride young horses she does not know, it is risky not to wear an airbag vest. 

While you ride a motorcycle, you are much more protected. That is kind of crazy. There are many more protections than while riding a horse even if, when you think about it, you take as many risks to jump a course on horseback as on a motocross. Horse riding remains a sport in which safety is not really taken seriously. I think that today, and this concerns both young riders and amateurs, it is absurd not to ride a horse with an airbag vest.

Photo credits: Stéphane Candé for Horse Pilot

 

Athina Miliotis: I wear the airbag vest because without it, I feel vulnerable. Horse riding has been my passion for years, but I am not safe from a more or less serious fall. An accident can happen so quickly! I would not want to have to stop my professional activity and to have my whole life turned upside down because of a fall. I have had tow main one, which could have damaged my spine forever. Once, my horse jumped by tipping her hind legs so far away that she rolled forward on me: the airbag cushioned her weight. The second time, I fell with my back to the bar, the picture proves it. I have seen many accidents which have had very serious consequences for the riders. That is why I wear the airbag every day, even during training. I chose the Horse Pilot airbag because it is lighter than the others, it triggers well and covers all the vital areas of the body, even the coccyx with its extension in the lower back. In addition, it is very aesthetic with its bomber or integrated show jacket. You must not forget that even when you are an amateur, you still like to have the style (laughter). I hope that in the future, safety will be a main stake in our sport, the protections ways will be ever lighter, faster and more efficient. But above all, I hope that riders will understand how important it is to protect themselves because it is through an active community that we will have the ideas and the hindsight to create appropriate equipment.

Chute Athina

 

Jérôme Guery: I am very, or even sometimes too much careful by nature (laughter). I decided to equip my riders, my family and myself with a Horse Pilot airbag after an accident had happened in my stables. My rider fell off a young horse, she did not go far from remaining paralyzed. Luckily, she was okay. As a father, it is my responsibility to take these kind of measures to avoid dramatic consequences.The Horse Pilot airbag is complete, comfortable and makes you feel safe. It is elegant because it is close-fitting, an important point in our sport.

Testimonial: Jerôme Guery

 

Philippe Rozier: Elegance and freedom of movement are fundamental elements in horse riding. That is why I contacted Horse Pilot: the brand reflects well the class and elegance of horse riding. It is still one of the few sports where you ride dressed in a suit and tie. In other sports such as motorcycling or skiing, the fact of equipping yourself is classy, while in horse riding the fact of wanting to equip yourself well gives the feeling that you are afraid, whereas this is not true. When you fall, the reflex is to hold on so as not to hurt yourself. With the airbag, you can let yourself go. It makes you feel more competitive. A rider wearing an airbag can more easily surpass him or herself. Young riders identify with us. If we wear an airbag, we will make them want to wear one.

Testimonial: Philippe Rozier

 

Félicie Bertrand: It was thanks to Horse Pilot that I started wearing an airbag, bit I think I would have come to it at some point anyway. When the team asked me if I wanted to try, I did not hesitate for a second. It was obvious! I find it amazing, we have set it off the other day at the stand, you really have a feeling of safety.

François Mathy:  I have never worn an airbag before. However, I am in favor of wearing one. The vest is easy to wear, comfortable and provides freedom of movement. It may be a little heavier but as the Aerotech jacket is light, this is not a problem at all. You feel the cartridge on the right under the vest, but the fact that it is flat is an advantage and it does not bother you at all.

Lysa Doerr: Airbags are becoming lighter and more stretch. I hesitate less and less to wear one: even in competitions, I no longer hesitate to wear one. With the new magnetic fastening system, it can be easily and quickly put on and off. Very practical, above all when you forget to take it off while getting off the horse!

 

Watch more testimonials

In conclusion, horse riding is also a safety issue. Do not wait any longer, join the addict Horse Pilot airbag team!