Recently, a friend at work sent me a link to an article on the use of air bags in the equestrian world, specifically cross-country jumping. I admit that sometimes I'm not in the know when it comes to what's new. While air bags made perfect sense in some ways, I hadn't realized they were put into use for equestrian sports yet.
In my mind, I pictured an airbag popping out of the front of the saddle and inflating. If you hadn't fallen off by then, the air bag would most certainly boot you out of the seat. Maybe not such a hot idea after all.
My curiousity peaked, so I checked out this article. Okay, so the air bag isn't mounted on the saddle, but built into a vest. Hmmm... Sounds intriguing for a coward like me who rides a 17-1 horse with a propensity for shying at invisible objects. So I read on. This article claimed this inflatable vests had saved several riders for catastophic injuries, paralysis, or even death. A claim which might be hard to prove considering you can't rewind time and try the same stunt or jump without a vest.
Still, it sounds interesting. There's one big hitch for me. You attached a line to the saddle. When you fall off, the line is pulled tight and inflates the airbag. I can just see me dismouting and forgetting about the line and ending up battling an inflating airbag as I'm trying to get my body safely to the ground. I wonder how many times that happens?
I was hoping there would be this magic technology which actually senses you're flying through the air at a great rate of speed and inflates the airbags. It appears, technology hasn't caught up yet with my imagination.
Then there's the hefty price tag starting at $390. But then, isn't it a small price to page for minimal broken bones or not breaking your back?
I'm not sure. I will keep any eye on this technology to see where it goes. I think it's a intriguing idea. Here's a link to the article:
Has anyone else tried inflatable airbags on your horse?