Equestrian competitions are inherently more risky than riding at home. Not only is it a new environment for you and your horse, but it’s full of new stimuli and distractions. Vendors may have brightly-colored merchandise hanging from tents or trailers. Flapping flags are not uncommon on the roofs of buildings or at the entrance to the show grounds. Trainers are yelling at their students while wild horses are being lunged in the warm-up ring. Even trucks and tractors dragging and watering arenas can be a cause for concern for your horse.
On top of this, your own nerves can have a big impact on your horse, as well. It’s completely normal to be nervous at a horse show, but that anxiety can bleed into your horse’s mental state and cause them to be nervous as well. Your horse may also be more anxious than usual due to the presence of other nervous or reactive horses.
The right safety equipment for both horse and rider adds that extra layer of protection that can mean the difference between spending the evening relaxing at home or in the hospital.
Safety Equipment for Reactive Horses
Does your horse flinch or spook at the slightest sound? At a horse show with a nervous or reactive horse, one cracking crop or yelling trainer at the wrong moment can mean the difference between landing on the other side of the jump or in the dirt.
Luckily, the right equestrian competition equipment can make your show day a whole lot safer for both you and your horse. Some horse shows allow ear plugs or ear bonnets with built-in sound proofing to deaden loud noises and help your horse relax.
For example, EquiFit has a line of fly bonnets with silencing technology built into the ear pieces. These SilentFit Ear Bonnets are lined with an antimicrobial, neoprene-free, open cell foam that inhibits sound to help your horse focus and stay calm.
If you’d rather have a sound-deadening ear bonnet with a cord for added security, the Plughz Sound Off Ear Bonnet with Cord might be a better option for you. Similar to the EquiFit SilentFit Ear Bonnets, the Plughz version has ears that are lined with a sound-proofing fabric, which is covered with a stretch fabric that resists dirt and provides ease of movement.
Add Boots to Your Equestrian Competition Checklist
Every equestrian has a long checklist of equipment to bring to their next horse show. Are horse boots on yours?
When choosing a pair of boots for your next horse show, it’s important that you understand the tack and equipment laws for your equestrian competition division. Not all divisions allow all types of leg protection. Some, like the hunter/jumper division, don’t allow any leg protection at all. But, if you’re allowed to have boots on your horse’s legs, you should strongly consider adding them to your gear list.
EquiFit has an excellent line of beautiful and protective boots. If you have a horse with sensitive skin, you may want to try the Eq-Teq Front and Hind Boots with SheepsWool Liner. These SheepsWool liners are an excellent complement to the durable EverLeather outer shell, as they promote breathability, move excess heat away from the leg, are hypoallergenic, and are naturally water and odor resistant.
Or, if you aren’t a fan of wool liners, try the EXP3 Front and Hind Boots. These boots have the same durable EverLeather outer shell, but have an interior lining made of neoprene. EquiFit prioritizes your horse’s comfort and protection with a smart cut-out design behind the knee that offers greater freedom of movement and comfort.
If you need full coverage protection and tendon support, try the Professional’s Choice line of boots. A favorite of Western riders, these sport medicine boots have an UltraShock lining that protects and supports the cannon bone, tendons, and soft tissue, while absorbing energy from hoof impact.
Safety Starts Before the Show
Trailers can be the cause of many leg injuries. Whether the horse stalled next to your horse starts kicking, oryourhorse starts kicking, leg injuries are common. On top of that, there’s also the added risk of injury due to vehicle accidents.
No equestrian likes to think about it, but any time you load your horse onto a trailer, a crash or accident is a possibility. Protect your horse’s legs in the event of a sudden stop or accident with shipping boots. The extra padding could mean the difference between your horse walking away from a trailering accident or obtaining a career-ending injury.
So, next time you drive to an equestrian competition, make sure you put shipping boots or similar protective wraps on your horse’s legs before they get on the trailer. One of the most convenient and easy options, the Baker Fleece Trailering Boots are functional and stylish. These beautiful plaid boots offer complete lower leg coverage, from above the knee all the way down to the hoof.
If you prefer to use standing wraps on your horse’s legs while trailering, check out the Lettia No-Bow Wraps and EQ Standing Bandages. The Lettia No-Bow Wraps are designed to limit pressure points and reduce the possibility of tendon damage. Finish off your wrap with the EQ Standing Bandages for a time-honored way to protect your horse’s legs in the trailer.
Win Blue Ribbons, Not Concussions
When it comes to equestrian competition safety, perhaps the most important piece of equipment is your helmet. If you choose to forego all other safety equipment, at least wear a helmet. A helmet designed for equestrian sports will protect you in the event of a fall. No matter how good of a rider you are, or how calm your horse is, youwillfall off at least once in your riding career. A good helmet is there to protect the only brain you’ve got.
For English riders looking for a traditional show-quality helmet, check out the Tipperary Windsor Helmet. This beautiful, classy-looking helmet is embedded with cutting-edge MIPS technology and features a wide brim to keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes. Six cooling vents will keep your head from overheating on hot summer days in the show ring, while the Tipperary Retention System ensures a custom fit.
If you’d rather have a helmet that stands out from the crowd, the IRG XLT Matte Brown and Rose Gold Helmet might be the one for you. This stunning helmet meets or exceeds ASTM safety standards and includes two washable liners to wick sweat away from your head. Ventilation in the front, top, and back ensures that you’ll be comfortable all day long.
Western riders– don’t skip this section! We have helmets for you, too. The Troxel Cheyenne Helmet and the Troxel Rebel Helmet are two great options for Western riders who want to stay safe at their next rodeo. Both helmets combine that unique Western flair and fashion with the protection you need to ride safely. Unfortunately, cowboy hats just won’t cut it when it comes to safeguarding your brain.
Equestrian Competition Safety Vests
Most often seen in the eventing world, safety vests are quickly becoming more and more popular at every equestrian competition. These vests offer protection for your abdomen, ribs, and spine, while still allowing you to move freely and effectively in the saddle. One study found that wearing a vest during cross country training or competition reduced the relative risk of injury by 56 percent. A safety vest could mean the difference between going home in an ambulance with a broken rib or riding in your dressage test!
If you’re a beginner or intermediate rider, the Tipperary Ride-Lite Vest is a good option for you. With a molded padding system for shock absorption and a molded foam channel system for maximum airflow and flexibility, this vest combines comfort and safety for the ultimate performance at your next equestrian competition.
Breeches.com: Your Online Shop for Equestrian Safety Equipment
At Breeches.com, we take your safety seriously. That’s why we do our best to stock high-quality safety gear at affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for helmets, safety vests, or leg protection for your horse, we have everything you need to ride safely at your next equestrian competition. To learn more about equestrian safety, check out this blog.
Click here to shop our collection of horse and rider safety equipment.