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When it comes to riding my horses I don't always stick to the ménage simply because it can actually get quite boring and the horses do need a change of scene from schooling. Fortunately I am lucky to have miles and miles of decent hacking around me but I do need to ride on a few small, country roads before reaching miles of bridleways. Now a lot of drivers cannot stand horses on the road and I try to limit myself and my horse as to how much time we spend on the roads as I have first hand seen the damage that a car can do to a horse. Therefore, to assist in being able to be seen especially on winding country roads I wear reflective items.
Now reflective wear for riders and for the horse are by no means glamorous but they certainly serve a very important purpose - they help you to be seen. Most insurers will require you to use at least two items of reflective wear in case you need to claim, I on the other hand use about 3 or 4 as I want to ensure I am seen and very importantly my horse is seen. One item that I wear on a weekly basis is the Hy-Viz Adjustable Tabard. Hy-Viz is a brand that specialises in reflective wear for both horse and rider and are widely available in a lot of equestrian stores.
The Hy-Viz tabard is basically one piece of material, there is no zipping to do. You simply lift it over the top of your head put it on so it sits on your shoulders and then you attach the wide straps which are at both sides of the tabard and fasten with the velcro around the lower part of your chest. The tabard comes in either yellow or pink and I opted for the pink simply because at the time it was the only colour available in the size that I bought! Either colour will have the tabard finished in black binding. The tabard is made from a nylon type of material which certainly seems quite tough and durable although incredibly lightweight.
On the tabard there are two reflective strips on both the front and the back of the tabard, they are just over two inches in width and are clearly visible from the ground and from a certain distance. To be a true piece of reflective clothing each garment does have to undergo various tests to pass and this tabard is certified to EN1150 which will be recognised with an insurer should you have to claim for any reason when out riding. Regardless of which colour you buy (both of which are quite a neon shade!) the reflective strips are noticeable which of course will help the driver of a vehicle manage to see you.
I have had numerous reflective/ safety tabards over the years and still have a few different ones in my tack room as they have always been an item that I wear and I won't ride on the roads/ out in the countryside without one. This tabard is probably worn more than most simply because due to the size I bought it is by far the most comfortable. I opted for a Child's Large as I found the smallest size for an adult was still a little big and baggy. The fit for me is just right, it doesn't slip over my shoulders and it fits to just about my hip bones - the tabard is the same length either side. Because it has the large tabs/straps which come around and fasten in the middle it does mean that you can wear a variety of different clothing as it is adjustable.
I have had this tabard for probably around a year and like I said above it is used on a weekly basis as I try to hack out and ride on the bridleways at least twice a week probably more so in the summer as it is nice to go for evening rides. Therefore, the tabard is worn at a variety of different times during the day whether first thing in the morning or later on in the summer evening and I have never had an issue with not being seen as the reflective strips certainly do stand out and the tabard does what it is supposed to.
Due to being worn a lot it does visit my washing machine quite often and it manages to come out as good as new. However, I don't tumble dry it as I leave it to dry naturally. The reflective strips are made from a plastic type material and they are all in tact despite a lot of use and they again come up very clean once it has been washed. The material that the tabard is made out of is tough and durable and will certainly last for a good few years although I have noticed a few threads from the binding starting to appear but that is hardly an issue as the binding still looks quite securely fixed to the tabard.
Overall, if you are wanting a reflective tabard for when out riding or even when you ride a bike and need to be seen then this is definitely a good choice. It does the job it is supposed to do whilst being incredibly lightweight and durable. 5 stars from me.
~ Useful Information ~
Colour(s): Yellow and pink
Sizes: Child, Child L, Adult and Adult XL
Price: From around £13.99 up
Availability: All good equestrian stores