Body talk

Your Horse (UK) - - Ask The Experts -

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 ( 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.

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