Normalizing Equestrian Safety With Airbag Vests

equestrian safety

1 year ago, Catherine Winter started Ride EquiSafe – The one-stop-shop for all your equestrian safety needs.

Catherine Winter’s riding career has primarily been in the hunter/jumper discipline. However, upon deciding to add eventing to her repertoire, Catherine had to borrow a safety vest for her first cross country schooling. At the time, safety equipment wasn’t as popular in the hunter/jumper ring as it was in eventing. Eventually, this led her to buy her own safety vest and thus her research began.

Deciding on the right vest was no easy feat. Winter checked out multiple retail and online stores but kept coming up short. This lead her to fly to Kentucky for a 3-day event to shop a trade fair. Finally, she found a vest that suited her needs.

Due to her difficulties finding the perfect vest and because equestrian safety vests started to gain popularity amongst other riding disciplines, Winter started her own company. This company will sell only protective equipment and nothing else. No tack, no flashy clothes, or grooming gear – just safety equipment. Ride EquiSafe was launched in the fall of 2020 during the pandemic and carries the largest selection of equestrian safety gear in North America. You can find body protectors, airbag vests and compatible clothing as well as safety stirrups.

Equestrian safety

The model Ride EquiSafe follows is similar to the method used for custom-saddles. Instead of having a physical store, Winter brings a mobile-shop to horse shows and events. Not only that, she also hosts a party called “Say Yes to the Vest”. She brings her products to a private facility and provides educational information to all the attendees. Winter’s goes over the different brands, types of vests and everything else a rider would need to know when deciding what safety gear is right for them. What is more fun than sipping a mimosa, talking about horses and equestrian safety equipment?

Because Ride EquiSafe started in the middle of a global pandemic, it was an uphill challenge. However, Winter’s stock carries such a wide variety of brands, styles and products, she has managed to find soaring success. Winter makes remarkable efforts to meet every single customers needs and get the right equipment into their hands.

Winter’s short-term goal is the continuous investment in her business, while her long-term objectives are to have Ride EquiSafe at events all over the country to normalize equestrian safety one vest at a time.

“We, as an organization and as a sport, will have been successful if people prioritize their safety. We need to recognize that safety equipment is not going to have a negative impact on a ribbon, and what does a ribbon count if you have a permanent injury?” – Catherine Winter

Ride EquiSafe Continues To Gain Support

A Ride EquiSafe customer, Amy Trent, is also working to normalize safety equipment within the equestrian industry. Trent bought her vest from Winters after her 11-year-old daughters friend was injured at a show. Trent, who is also a nurse practitioner, credits Winter for her support and knowledge while helping her find the perfect safety vest.

“The company was just fantastic. She basically narrowed down by my daughter’s size, how much she weighs, what her figure looks like, and found one that was the best for her and fits her well. It’s not super heavy, and you don’t really notice it until you get up close.” – Amy Trent

The safety gear Winter provides is highly personal and specialized. She gives her customers the opportunity to touch and try multiple products before they purchase. Winter hopes that her personalized take on customer service makes her shop the number one choice for equestrian safety equipment.

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