Monday, July 27, 2015

A Safety Ultimatum | Let's Discuss


Overall my husband is pretty supportive of the horse hobby. But he has concerns about my safety. Legitimate concerns.

Over a year ago, he asked that I wear both my safety vests whenever jumping, not just XC. And I have, 99% of the time.

Point Two air vest over Tipperary impact vest.

At our hunter show a few weeks ago, I brought my safety vests but decided not to wear them. While I'm not completely up on the rules in hunterland, I understand that "non-traditional" attire and tack counts against you in some classes. Looking around, there were dozens and dozens of riders - and not one had a safety vest of any kind.

I decided to see how I felt in the warm-up and would put on the vests if I felt at all nervous. I felt fine. We warmed up and did 3 jump classes wearing traditional hunt attire and that was that.

Traditional, right? Except for the fleece girl? Close enough?

Hubs didn't make it to that show and was very bothered when he realized I didn't wear the vests. To him, a jump is a jump, and he doesn't know (or care) about hunters vs eventing vs jumpers vs whatever.

So he gave me an ultimatum: I commit to wearing both vests 100% of the time when jumping, or else he will not support the hobby: no more videoing, attending shows, or even chatting about how it went.He wasn't rude or pushy. He was concerned and said he didn't know how else to show me how strongly he feels about this.

Putting myself in his shoes, I'd have similarly strong sentiments about him wearing safety gear when riding motorcycles, for example.

Safety. So hot right now. Safety.

I already made a decision about it, and my trainer and barn-mate also came to the same exact conclusion as I did about it.  I'll wear both vests 100% of the time. We'll stick to jumpers and eventing, but I'll probably pass on hunter shows; I'd be embarrassed to stick out.

But I'm interested in your opinion. Kind of a sensitive subject, since it involves life-partner relationship, but important. How much does your partner's preferences impact your horse decisions? What if they feel very strongly vs. less strongly? What do you think about safety vests in general and what are your reasons for wearing or not wearing them?

Funny note, I'm such a cheapskate that the idea of spending ~$30 on a replacement air canister has been enough for me to somehow get my butt back into in the saddle after some hairy moments!



36 comments:

  1. I think vests are great but I admit that I don't wear Mine all of the time. Pretty much only when I've been cross country schooling. If Kyle felt very strongly about it I would wear them more often but I would be bothered by the ultimatum for showing... If I end up doing the jumpers or hunters and need to wear a coat what would I do. Even at recognized events you are supposed to wear a coat in stadium...

    They do make vests that aren't as much of an eye sore / or that don't stand out as much though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My SO originally didn't support jumping of any kind - even with vests on, particularly because his boss' daughter was in a horrible jumping accident. That being said, he wasn't super pushy about it, he just mentioned that if I ever had kids I should consider not jumping at all to eliminate that danger. When I decided to transition to dressage and after he came to realize that Fiction isn't some crazy beast and we don't go out of our way to engage in terrifying activities, he slowly came around. He still firmly believes that I should wear a helmet at all time (and I agree), and he also believes that horseback riding is insanely dangerous (in some cases yes, but it can be less dangerous if you keep yourself out of unnecessarily bad situations - like riding a known bucker/rearer). I point out that his mountain climbing terrifies me, considering a guy died the week before her climbed the same mountain, and a woman broke both her ankles right next to them.

    To be honest, I get the concern and while the ultimatum would probably bother me a bit, it is understandable. After all, he is thinking about his future, your future, and the effect a debilitating accident would have on you both physically and mentally.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Back in the day, I wore my vest any time I was jumping, riding alone, or doing conditioning sets. As my dad (who bought me the vest) put it, it doesn't do you any good if it's sitting in your tack trunk.

    These days I don't jump, so I don't wear it. Plus it's waaaay past it's expiration date and needs to be replaced. If I did jump, yeah, I'd wear it. In fact, I've worn mine under my coat in Stadium, so it's totally doable.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm mainly focusing on dressage right now, but I would def wear a vest if I was doing XC, no doubt about that. I don't think I would wear one if I was doing hunters or jumpers though, for the style aspect and the fact that I wouldn't be jumping very big.

    Helmet is an always; both Andy and I are big on that. He's a pretty narly mountain biker and he always wears a helmet. However, if he wanted to do more crazy downhill stuff with big jumps and stuff I would really strongly want him to wear more protection. Like knee and elbow pads, full face helmet, padded shorts on the hips and low back, and probably a back protector. I would be more hesitant about DH and not want him to do it bc the danger factor is a ton higher. But for normal mountain bike stuff with no big jumps I think just a helmet is fine. He feels the same way about my riding on the flat and if I was doing stadium jumping.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's really interesting. I could see helmets being non-negiotable but I never thought about vests. I've only worn a vest on the cross country course and never wore one when jumping otherwise. That said, I think if my husband asked - I would.

    There are a few discreet ones out there!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Honestly, if Matt felt strongly enough to take a stance like that, I would do it. He rarely, if ever, makes an ultimatum or draws a hard line in the sand. If he does, I take it very seriously.

    Beyond that relationship issue, I agree that riding is dangerous. I'm more willing to take the risk than he is to have me take it, though, so we've compromised. (Plus, he's nowhere near the risk-taker in general that I am. *grin*) I've broken plenty of bones, had various things bashed in that shouldn't be bashed in, et cetera. So I'll agree that safety precautions are important. But without that kind of push, I wouldn't wear my xc vest while schooling stadium. I don't even own an air vest, which I do think is something I should correct before my first event.

    So I'd do what you're doing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll add that we both believe that helmet use is non-negotiable. Period, no questions, no argument.

      Delete
  7. Dude, props to your husband. Mine knows I have a vest but isn't super informed about what I do at the barn, anyways. If I tell him that I wore it (like for our first ride back or whatever), he'll support the decision but I don't think he'd ever.. enforce it. Helmet, yes. He's actually bought my last two helmets.

    I guess my whole take away from this is that I'm incredibly touched that your husband cares so much about your safety as to get involved and actually give an ultimatum.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have never worn a vest minus one cross country schooling day with a friend. My husband was pretty worried about safety, but only when I fell off. He one time offered to buy me a vest and asked if I would wear it, but I told him that hunter/jumpers don't wear one for X reasons. He accepted that, but riding made him nervous sometimes and he was literally research tech ways to try and invent new safety equipment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I only wear a hard hat 100% of the time. My vest was for xcountry and my parents scrimped to buy it for me. I have used it for riding problem horses and the one time I came off with it, the part I hurt was not an area covered by the vest.
    So first off I would probably not go against a husband in a case of safety. I am also not much of a Hunter and would just buy a bigger jacket to wear over the vests no matter what it looks like if I had to. He makes the effort to care and support, so easing his mind is worth the bulky look.
    That said, personally I can't afford to have an air vest and don't want to put the wear and tear on my old one, so 100% would not happen for me. Plus, if it was about safety with horse power, I would need to wear a vest driving my car, because I have just as much chance at an accident.
    As long as it works for you and does not bring down your enjoyment, keep him happy too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh man, despite me falling in front of me repeatedly, my boyfriend has zero concern about my vest wearing. Mostly he laughs. BUT all those times I HAVE been wearing a vest.

    I have yet to find a vest that fits me really well, and I think that if I did I would be more inclined to wear it every time I jump. But I know lots of people who do and I support it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would probably compromise and say I'll wear the safety vest during all jumps but the air vest only when doing XC. But definite props to your husband for caring enough to insist on safety. I'll admit that my fiancé and I will jump baby XC fences without a vest at all so we're not the best examples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, by the way, congrats on Dandy and Jordan's win!! So very cool!

      Delete
  12. My hubs has never made any noise one way or another about my use of safety gear, but I am the world's biggest helmet nazi. I didn't realize how much that came across until one of hub's friends wanted to come ride my horse and hubs was like "YOU MUST WEAR A HELMET" and the guy was like "what? no" and hubs was like "Oh yeah very dangerous, don't want a TBI".

    I laughed pretty hard, but he's absolutely right.

    That said. If he were to make a stand on safety, I would definitely listen. Courage is hardly a packer at this stage in the game and I don't want to be crippled, so we all have to make good choices.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I only bought and started wearing a vest when I started jumping XC - learning to ride in the hunter/jumper world they just aren't used. I do ride with a helmet every ride. My husband wants me to be safe, but he also engages in risky sports and activities (ATV riding, sailing, motorcycle riding, etc.) so also doesn't expect me to live in a bubble. That said, if he was as concerned as your husband and gave me the 'vest ultimatum' I'd buy a really comfortable vest and just wear it all the time! It's about safety, and not worth risking your relationship over.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wear my vest 99% of the time (even when flatting and trail riding) and always when jumping. That's my choice, not my husband's. They make nicer vests that look good and can go with a show coat.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm single at the moment. My last girlfriend was far more concerned about my safety than I was (she's also a rider, and she didn't own a vest of any sort). I can only see myself in relationships with other ladies who ride, so I think we'd talk about it, but I straight-up would make the choice for myself and expect her to do the same. I'm ferociously independent. That said, I wouldn't look askance at anyone whose spouse had requests about their use of safety gear or anything. I'm a helmet-always person, but I don't even think I'd insist on someone else wearing a helmet if they didn't want to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me clarify: If someone else was riding my horse, helmet absolutely required. But if I was, say, dating or married to someone who was also a skilled rider and she didn't want to wear a helmet all the time, I don't think I'd make a big stink about it. Maybe I would. I dunno.

      Delete
  16. When I started getting sicker and almost passing out when riding, I was no longer allowed to jump by myself. And then that turned into not allowed to ride by myself. And I must always wear my health id bracelet when riding anyone anywhere. And I totally understand all that. I know XC makes him pretty nervous, but I told him I suffered through his motocross racing for 8 years, and now it was his turn to return the favor. If he wanted me to wear my safety vest when jumping anything, I would probably do it, but have to remind him that I over-heat super easily so we would have to pick the safest outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think it's really sweet that your husband is so adamant about your safety. I only do XC in a vest but am starting to educate the husband on air vests (and their costs) and I think he hasn't quite realized what it all means yet. I'm sure your injury scared the bejeezus out of your hubs though and I can understand the reasons why he would say that.

    PS, thank you for the Zoolander reference. I chuckled inside :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Mine isn't super into safety, but he did buy my new vest because as soon as I said it was safer, he insisted I have it. And he was willing to pay for whatever one I wanted. In some ways I don't think he totally understands how dangerous the sport is, but on the other hand he's from a pretty dangerous sport too (cycling) so in a way he might be a little more numb to the danger factor than other people. I do own an air vest but don't wear it because I just don't feel like there has been enough research done to prove that they are in fact more helpful than harmful. He supports that decision, and my reasoning behind it as well. I have to say I dunno if I'd be willing to wear the vest every single ride... helmet yes, vest... I dunno. I'm sure I would get used to it though if it was necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My husband is weird because the safety aspect is important to him, but he isn't so concerned about the issues from falling so much as the dangers on the ground. I guess that's fair. He has seen me almost get kicked right in the heart (and I have been kicked in the clavicle) and get run over by bad baby horses all the time. He usually just advocates caution and common sense ... oh and that I not ride a horse with less of either than me! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sometimes wonder if I'd feel more confident in a vest while jumping. Like 75% of my important parts are covered. If my hubby issued an ultimatum about safety I'd prob say as long as I can buy the right tool for the job. Maybe just your safety vest under a coat at Hunter shows? I have seen it done. I will prob make my kids do it, and really as the major financial support of the family, I'm surprised my hubby doesn't bubble wrap me before I ride.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would go with the hubby on this one. He is probably still shaking from your accident and it is hard to let go of something like that. I did a similar thing to my mom when she wanted to keep riding a colt that put her in the hospital. Wrecks are harder on the loved ones than the person it happened to sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wear it. It's not like he's asking for something outlandish like only riding on the days 50 people are supervising. Wearing the vests is good for you, like wearing a seatbelt. I think his continued support is worth a little discomfort. And if it makes him happy, that's a bonus for you. :0)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Johnny is very supportive of my horse endeavors and I'm sure he's concerned about my safety, but has never given me any sort of ultimatum or even voiced an opinion on what I choose to do at the barn. (Aside from saying things like, "Slow down on buying the saddle pads, SP!!" or "I do not want to jump, because that is scary!") I assume this is because he either a) doesn't feel knowledgeable enough to comment on it, or b) feels that I am an expert and will make a good decision. Even when I broke my arm a couple of years ago from a fall, he was like, "Well, what are you going to do? Horses be crazy, yo."

    I would think it was very weird if he drew some kind of hard line, and I think it would bother me a lot. I guess I'd feel like he was questioning my ability to make appropriate decisions?

    Don't get me wrong- I think it's good that your husband is concerned for your safety, and you DID have a bad accident! I don't think he's some kind of monster for demanding you wear a helmet and vest all the time, but I do think it's kind of extreme.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Both vests are a lot of vests. Could you perhaps just wear the Tipperary all the time and the air vest only when its really necessary? I get it for cross country, but it is a little much for hunters. You could probably get the Tipperary under a slightly larger hunt coat, too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. in the grand scheme of things, i dont' really see any reason to say 'no' to that request. it's not necessarily what i do, nor do i handle ultimatums particularly well, plus like others have said it IS a somewhat extreme requirement from one adult to another.... but again, in the grand scheme of things, whatever, right? the vest hurts no one, and you'll almost never regret being too careful. plus if you keep your partner happy in the mix, well, it's all good, right?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think I would wear my vest(s) at all times if it was that important to my guy. He is quite involved in my hobby, but he hasn´t been that concerned for my safety. At least he hasn´t said so! I wear my safety vest when I ride young horses, and on my own horse (13 y o) at cross country (and sometimes jumping stadium). I recently bought an air vest for cross country, and I told him about it. He didn´t seem all that relieved, so I think he probably trusts me to make good choices anyway! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I was recently at a B-rated hunter/jumper show and a lady in my division (2'6" Hunters) showed wearing a safety vest. I noticed it, as I'm sure everyone else did because she was definitely the only one, but she still won every single class because she rode beautifully.

    I don't wear a vest, never have, but I will say that my husband's opinion factors in heavily to all horse-related decisions. I ask him about everything -- from tack to training to vet to shows. Sometimes it's more of a "heads up, I did this" and sometimes it's more "what do you think we should do?" but I always ask and we decide together. I don't know if that's the right way to do things, and this is obviously very personal, but I believe we are a team. And teammates stick together, help each other and work towards common goals. I also believe that communication, 100% honest communication, 100% of the time, is key to a successful and happy marriage.

    Again, I know that's really, really personal and that tons of couples do it differently and are very, very happy. But that's how we do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I say all that to say that if Sam made the same ultimatum, and I show exclusively hunters (not even jumpers), I would do it. Absolutely I would do it.

      Delete
  28. I think my SO would like me to wear full moto leathers and a moto helmet when I ride because it would be safer. That said no ultimatums other than, if its not fun anymore don't do it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The only reason I don't wear a vest is because I can't afford one. I really, really want one though. It would make me feel much safer. If my husband gave me that ultimatum I would have no problem doing it, but I don't compete so it's less complicated for me. I take our husbands caring about our safety as being a sign of their love. Doesn't bother me at all. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. THANK YOU EVERYONE who has commented so far! What a wonderful discussion! =)

    ReplyDelete
  31. For safety purposes, high visibility Safety vest and Reflective tape are going to make you far more visible.

    ReplyDelete