Throughout the summer I wore a pink hi-vis tabard whilst hacking out; which was great and fitted well over my t-shirt. However, you try fitting a small tabard over a jumper and two coats nowadays. I look like a rugby player squeezed into a tutu.
So I decided that I needed to get another. Perhaps an extra large tabard? Or with poor light perhaps I needed long fluorescent sleeves?
Then I thought that perhaps I should look at hi-vis coats. After all, any extra waterproofing is good with me.
I did some research, asked around, and finally plumped on the Equisafety Aspey winter jacket. Then of course I had to choose the colour. I decided that orange would be the best… different to pink anyway.
With a gulp at the price tag, I eventually ordered it. I placated myself by telling myself that the hi-vis was not just a hi-vis, it was also a waterproof coat. Of which I need a new one this year anyway.
My initial impression was that the coat is nice and stylish. The black contours are quite flattering. All good for my professional image. From a practical point of view, the zips are tough, pockets are deep. It’s warm, with a satiny lining that feels very nice. I feel like I’m wearing quality. I don’t sit on the bottom when I ride, and the sleeves are the right length. It seems durable; I’ve not yet snagged it on the plethora of brambles, holly, and branches I pass.
However, it is very bright. Yes, I know that’s kinda the point. But I feel like I stand out like a sore thumb when walking around the yard in it! It definitely makes me tidy up after myself because I’m so identifiable to a passer by!
Someone jokingly said to me, when I appeared with it; “don’t wear that down the field, I’ve no time to fix all the fencing.” I must say that all the horses have been very accepting of my beacon-like appearance. Even the aptly named Spooks let me walk straight up to her in the field.
An unknown horse rider that I met out hacking complimented me on the effectiveness of my jacket. She’d seen me a long time before I’d seen her.
A car driver also said that they’d spotted me in plenty of time and liked the jacket. I’m undecided yet as to whether I’ve just met more courteous drivers this last week, or the drivers are respecting the bright jacket. Time will tell!
Another comment I had was “well, it’s not burnt anyone’s eyes out yet…” as we contemplated the visual effect of it.
Overall the jacket has been a hit. I like to think that my clients are happier/more confident that their horses are in good hands because I’m trying to make myself as visible as possible so hopefully we are safer on the roads. I like wearing it and feel more confident on the road in my visibility; the fact that it is warm and waterproof takes the pressure off my other coats, and means I have a dry one in my car should I get a drenching. One small design flaw, and it may not worry most people, but when I hacked on Thursday and the wind was gusting, the triangle on my back started flapping violently. It made a fair bit of noise, which didn’t upset any of the horses I was riding, but potentially it could cause a problem. I’m not sure how best you would change the design, but I think if I was riding out again in windy conditions I would consider rolling the triangle up into the collar and forego the instructions to drivers.
So yes, if it’s a winter hacking jacket you’re looking for, then definitely take a look at Equisafety’s range. I like the look of their mercury jacket, but just cannot justify the price tag. It is silvery reflective all over so best suited for half-light and nighttime. As I only hack during the day, I think the Aspey jacket is better suited because the colour attracts the motorist’s eye as opposed to the reflective bouncing back car headlights. Next up, I’ll need an exercise sheet that matches my jacket!