The last thing you want to think about is falling off your horse, but it’s important to take steps to protect yourself just in case you part company. This is where investing in a high-quality, up-to-standard body protector can help.
Body protectors are designed to offer you protection should you fall off, or get kicked or trodden on by your horse. While no body protector can keep you completely safe, they go a long way to increasing the chances of escaping serious or life-threatening injury. And, with many different styles to choose from, it’s worth looking at your options before you invest.
Just your type
Style is always something to consider when choosing a body protector and not just in terms of aesthetics. The perfect fit for you might be completely different for someone else, so it’s important to explore all the options and have one professionally fitted to you.
TOP TIP – Try to store your body protector in a warm place, such as an airing cupboard, as this will ensure it’s flexible from the minute you put it on.
Fit for purpose
It’s not compulsory to wear a body protector at all times, but it’s important to think about when you’ll need one – if you want to compete in cross-country, it’s a must-have.
TOP TIP – Don’t just stand still when you try on your body protector – walk around the shop and see how mobile you are in it. Some retailers will have a saddle you can sit in, too.
DID YOU KNOW?
Lots of riders like to wear an air jacket on the cross-country course, but you must wear an up-to-standard body protector underneath to be eligible to compete.
As with your riding hat, impact from a fall can mean it’s time to replace your body protector. Any dents that appear in its foam should spring back to their original shape within 30 minutes. If they don’t, this part of your body protector has lost its ability to absorb impact, so it should be replaced. Regardless, though, it’s best to replace your body protector every three to five years, as this is when the absorption capabilities start to decline.
TOP TIP – Avoid buying a second-hand body protector as it’s difficult to see how much damage it’s sustained.