Horse-proof your phone!

afoot If, like me, you have a smartphone with pretty much your entire life installed on it, and absolutely must have it always in reach (therefore expecting it to stand up to the extreme demands of a horsey environment) this may help. Just this week I sat next to a rider who took out of his pocket an iPhone with a totally smashed screen. Somehow it was still working, ish, but its days looked numbered.

I, too, am an iPhone addict, and when I received my latest one on contract I wimped out of the heinous cost of monthly insurance, and decided to research the best protective covers available instead. Good old Google was, as usual, my friend.

This led me to a few different makes, including Otterbox, and the Ballistic Hardcase. After a bit of indecision, I went for the latter. My farrier has the Otterbox, and really rates it. The Ballistic one seems to be everything-proof. A year on, my iPhone is still absolutely pristine. It has survived countless times of being dropped, squashed, and generally abused. The cover totally encapsulates the phone, protecting it from just about everything. The manufacturers claim that you can drive a vehicle over it without damage to the phone inside. Not something I wish to attempt, although I nearly managed it when I left it balanced on the ATV and then drove off, but very reassuring.

Years ago a friend worked for Sony Ericsson and gave me one of their brand new and very snazzy flip-open phones. I was chuffed to bits with it, since prior to that I’d had an ugly plasticky brick of a thing. I’d owned my new pet SE for just one day when, with it my pocket, I had a jumping session. Over a biggish fence my very good mare came up really well through her shoulders as I somehow over-folded a bit… there was a loud, ominous crunch from my pocket – and sure enough, my lovely new phone was history. So, I am probably a bit over-protective now, after that huge disappointment!
Another handy aspect is that the Ballistic hardcover makes the slim, slippery shape of the iPhone big and bulky enough to wedge totally securely into my HS1 next to my ear, so that I can chat to my friends for hours while hacking out. Result! It’s even textured and non-slip enough to have in your hand while hacking along. I try to stop myself from Facebooking and Tweeting while on horseback, but occasionally the urge overwhelms me, and it’s good to know I won’t drop my phone and then, even worse, have to get back on without a mounting block!

The only thing it hasn’t had to survive, although it is claimed that the cover is water-resistent, is a thorough dunking in a water bucket… mainly because of my utter paranoia. Far too many of my friends have lost phones to drownings in water buckets, and I had a very nice new Nokia which perished in the washing machine – the one time ever that my partner decided to do some washing, and, unbeknownst to me, scooped up my jacket with phone still in the pocket. The horrified realisation a few minutes later after an increasingly frantic search, and then the wait for the wash cycle to finish and release my drowned and totally dead phone, still haunt me.

So, apart from banning your partner from EVER putting a wash on without checking the pockets of everything, what’s the best way to protect your phone?

Zipped pockets. Unless my phone is in my hand or wedged into my hat, it is in a zipped-up pocket. Always. I am so paranoid about this that I refused to buy a very snazzy Ariat Team jacket, in my colours, which I love the look of… but it doesn’t have zips on the pockets. No good, because I am just not willing to risk my phone. It has become totally automatic to zip it away, and keep it safe.

The only slight drawback with the Ballistic Hardcover is that, while normal chargers still work perfectly with it, my Teck-net SuperCharger and Battery does not, so I have to remove the phone completely from the case to use it. This is a very minor point, but I wish I’d realised immediately, rather than being on the verge of sending the Charger back!

I bought my Ballistic Hardcover from Amazon, and it’s probably the best £30 I’ve ever spent. It comes in a good choice of colours, from girly pink & black to more serious grey & black, red & black, blue & black, shocking pink & black, or straight black & black. None are exactly pretty, even fancy colours don’t give any impression other than ruggedness, but that’s what horse-proofing needs, I think!

Overall, it’s an absolute godsend, and I wouldn’t be without it for a second.

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