Last weekend we completed our first ride of the season. We sponsored a team on the 6 mile ride n tie and the 50 mile endurance race. Our ride n tie team came in second and I completed my 50 successfully. My goal was to just finish as I needed just one more completed 50 in order to get my Novice qualification which will allow me to compete at my first FEI ride in July. Not only did we finish in roughly the same amount of time as my first one back in October although this time I had rain, deep sand and slippery terrain to contend with, we also finished with perfect vet scores, which means our winter training and preparation paid off!
As you may or may not know, Tipperary Equestrian/Phoenix Performance Products (based out of King City, Ontario) provided me with a new helmet and eventer safety vest for the season (in our trademark black and pink colours!). I’ve always been a big fan of Tipperary and have used their products for a number of years now so I am super excited about this partnership. The sport of endurance not only pushes my horse and myself to our limits, but the strength and quality of my equipment is put to the test as well. Aprilfest was a great ride to put Tipperary’s equipment under pressure because I completed both a long and short distance race and the weather on both days was two extremes: sunny and warm on Saturday for the 6 mile ride & tie and cold and rainy on Sunday for the 50 mile endurance race. Here is my review on both the helmet and the vest:
Colours: come in a variety of colours to match your tastes, plus they can do custom embroidery (perhaps I’ll have to get one with the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat logo on it!)
Movement: I did not feel restricted in my movement at all and at times I forgot I was wearing the vest. I really like the lacing up both sides so I can adjust the vest as needed. The helmet is also very light and like the vest, I occasionally forgot I was wearing it. The harness is comfortable and doesn’t move around.
Breathability: I chose a Tipperary helmet because I do a lot of riding out in the elements. The hard outer shell holds up in the rain better than a velvet covered helmet and all of the vents help keep my head cool. Despite the warmer than average temperatures on Saturday, I did not overheat or sweat more than normal while wearing the vest. In the cold and rain on Sunday, the vest did keep me warm (and fit under my jacket!). However, when I switched over to a lighter jacket as it warmed up, the vest sadly did not fit under it. In the future, I’ll have to test how well repels or holds water and how heavy it gets if it does.
Safety: the helmet has extended coverage on back of helmet, which many helmets out there do not have. Not only does this make the helmet fit more secure, it will protect more of my head should I fall off. There are lots of hazards out in the forest plus with varying terrain, you never know when your horse could take a misstep and fall. While the vest isn’t going to prevent everything, it can definitely lessen the impact of an injury.
Other: the Tipperary helmet is super affordable (less than $100!), it doesn’t give you that “mushroom head” look, they have an accident replacement policy (keep your receipts!), and the equipment gives me increased confidence. I’ve evented in the past and still take jumping lessons and wearing the vest has made me less nervous when it comes to jumping. While the vest doesn’t make me invincible, that extra bit of confidence helps me get through the ride and is conveyed to my horse as well, which increases our performance. If you’re a rider who is nervous about taking your horse out on the trail, consider picking one of these up! Thankfully, I did not test the helmet or vest to see how they work and hold up in a fall situation (and I hope I don’t have to!)
Since we have completed our Novice qualifications, Splash and I are going to take it easy at the next ride on May 22-23 at Cayuse Creek Ranch, competing in the 28 mile set speed event. Hope to see you there! If you are looking for something to do the weekend of May 28 and 29th, come visit Eat Sleep Ride Repeat at the Natural Horsemanship Trade Show at Partridge Horse Hill in Pontypool, Ontario (http://www.nhassociation.ca/nha-trade-show/). We will have a booth set up with a trade show deal of receiving $10 off your purchase of $50 or more on anything we have. Come stock up on your riding gear for the season!
If you haven’t seen it already, check out the vest and helmet in action in this awesome video from the ride & tie on The Horse Network: https://www.facebook.com/HorseCollaborative/videos/1056732151079340/?pnref=story