|PC: Ian Woodley|
You may or may not be aware that our National Governing Association for sport, Equestrian Canada implemented a rule change this year that requires riders to have a BETA 3 certified vest. The rule is as follows;
"2. Body Protector/Inflatable Vest
2.1 A body protector vest is mandatory for the warm-up and the cross-country test. A body protector vest may also be worn for the warm up and during other tests.Body Protector vests must meet or exceed, and be appropriately labelled ASTM approved standard F1937 or BETA Level 3 body protector standard.
2.2 An inflatable vest may be worn: • Only when worn over an approved body protector vest during the warmup for and for the cross country test Page 12 2019 Rules of Equestrian Canada Section D • As a standalone item of dress for the warm-ups for and during the dressage and jumping tests only if it has been approved for use without a body protector vest by the manufacturer. The inflatable vest must always be worn on the outside of other garments.
2.3 Violation of this rule shall be penalized at the discretion of the Ground Jury, and may result in elimination.
2.4 Competitors are strongly recommended to check their body protectors on a regular basis and to replace them if damaged.
2.5 It is strongly advised that the body protector should impede neither flexibility nor balance.
2.6 Stable, team or club colors are permitted"There was a lot of hoopla about the vest rule and not being in notified in time, in which a lot of competitors were upset that they would now need to replace their vest before the start of show season. Not only is it a pain in the ass but it is also a huge expense! The new vests are almost all priced around $400-$600. Add that to memberships, and early season costs like your trailer, shoes, etc it was a hard to pill to swallow for some (me included).
I don't want to make this about the vest drama since I have had enough ranting about that for a long time LOL. If I had to get a new vest, I wanted to love it. I wanted one that fit well, wasn't heavy and didn't impede my movement. I loved my old Tipperary but it squished my chest and I always felt restricted. Since I knew I was going to Land Rover in the spring I decided to wait until I was there and try on all the different vests I could find and also get sized.
I am so glad I did this, because this was where I discovered the Champion Titanium Ti22. Having tried the Ovation ComfortFlex that was recommended to me as somewhat comfy and affordable, I was discouraged. There was no way I could wear that XC. It was heavy and uncomfortable to me. I don't like wearing a lot of clothes on a good day because I get irritated and uncomfortable easily. That vest was a hard no. I tried the newer Tipperary Eventer Pro and thought that would be the likely winner, until I tried the Champion.
Champion is a British brand, and not often seen in Canada. I was familiar with it from my time spent in Scotland. The vest was not the most attractive from first glance, and looked heavy. The store clerk helped me get the vest on, and size it. When I zipped it up, I realized how amazingly comfortable it was. It flexes in each unit allowing for more freedom of movement. It curves easily around my full chest. It doesn't ride up above my shoulders, and it doesn't dig into my ribs, or hit the back of my pants or saddle. The side features wrap around coverage and laces that have a tightening clasp. I really was intrigues by the vest, but wanted to think on it more since it was a big purchase for me that had to last.
From their website;
"Unisex flexible segmented style body protector. Heavy duty YKK zips, military grade outer mesh, ultra lightweight foam and cool feel titanium coloured inner lining. Cutting edge comfort & flexibility achieved through revolutionary SegTek construction. Channeled airflow hole heat release system. Slip it on, zip it up and fit for ease of use."We went back to the hotel that night and I did some googling and read reviews on the vest. I found a video of Pippa Funnel showing how to fit the vest, and a lot of positive reviews. The more I read the more I thought this was definitely the vest for me. I went back to the booth the next day to try the vest on again, and I was sold. I ordered one online when I got home to avoid the killer exchange rate and waited eagerly for it to arrive.
When it got here I put it on immediately and confirmed it fit perfectly. My first ride in it was in a jumping lesson with Ian at Dreamcrest. I was interested to put it to the test and see how it felt while riding. I will be completely honest, I forgot I even had the vest on. I have never in my 20+ years of eventing, forgot I had my Tipperary on. This vest was so comfortable, and unrestricting, that it was like it was non-existent. It also has excellent airflow and kept me cool and relatively sweat free considering we rode for almost 2 hours. I wore it again at my first event this year and I still feel the same about it. I would recommend this vest to anyone who wants an approved vest for anything from hacking, to upper level eventing.
The vest comes in a range of sized from XS-XL, short, regular, and tall. The way it wraps around and the laces allow for a lot of difference in each size. I think it would fit a wide variety of people. They are a little on pricey side, but not much more than the Tipperary Eventer Pros, but in my opinion they are much, much nicer. So if you are looking for a new vest, consider checking out the Champion Titanium Ti22!