QDo I need to wear my body protector at all times, or just when I do crosscountry and showjumping? Annie Matherson, Kent
ABody protectors are designed to protect the rider by absorbing some of the impact energy created when falling off, being kicked, or trodden on. No body protector can prevent serious injury in every situation, but they can reduce the severity of injuries. In some disciplines, use of a body protector is mandatory, and some BHS approved riding centres and BHS accredited professional coaches may also ask for them to be worn. For everyday riding, however, deciding whether or not to wear a body protector is up to you.
Get the fit right
It’s essential to have a body protector fitted correctly, and the BHS recommends going to a reputable stockist where the body protector will be fitted to you — ideally by someone who has attended a BETA (beta-uk.org) body protector fitting training session. Many body protectors on the market can be altered to fit in a number of different ways, so you should always be able to find one that’s comfortable. When you get your body protector fitted, it’s vital to think about how you’ll wear it. For example, if it will be worn over a riding jacket, then wear your jacket when your body protector is fitted. However, if it will be worn over a shirt or cross-country top, then it should be fitted accordingly. A number of different styles are available, depending on the manufacturer and the design. Tabard and zip-fronted styles are common, but new designs are emerging as technology continues to develop. It’s important to try on a variety of styles to see which fits you best.
Tabard and zip-fronted body protectors are the two styles available For more on safety standards and testing, see Your Horse 441 (hats) and 442 (body protectors). For back issues go to greatmagazines. co.uk/yourhorse.