As equestrians, we rely on our body protector to help keep safe whilst taking part in all disciplines. It doesn’t matter whether you are hacking, eventing or racing, body protectors help protect horse riders from serious injury every single day.
The protection provided by your body protector gives you the level of security and confidence needed to go out and enjoy our sport.
But what if your body protector was no longer providing you with the level of safety you expected it to?
Did you know? If your body protector is over 5 years old, it is likely to be providing you with a substandard level of protection.
Whilst a well-cared for body protector does have an expected lifetime of 3-5 years, and may look in good condition, after a period of time the effectiveness of a body protector and the level of protection it offers will start to reduce.
To help keep you safe, we have included a list of 5 key signs that you might need to consider replacing your body protector.
Did you know? Injury to the chest and back area are reported to account for up to 54% of equestrian related injuries*, showing the value of wearing a correctly fitting, up to date body protector.
5 signs you need to replace your current body protector
It doesn’t have a BETA 2009 or 2018 (Level 3) safety certificate.
You’ve had it for more than 3-5 years.
It doesn’t fit you properly.
There are visible signs of wear and tear.
You have fallen off in it several times.
It doesn’t have a BETA 2009 or 2018 (Level 3) safety certificate
The latest BETA certificate is 2018, so a 2009 certificated model is now a minimum of 2 years old, and a maximum of 11 years old. If you have a body protector that has a certificate older than BETA 2009, then it is older than 11 years old and so is almost definitely not providing the intended level of protection than your body protector should.
On top of this, you would not be allowed to compete in a body protector that is older than 2009 or 2018 BETA level 3. Find out more about safety standards.
You’ve had your current body protector for more than 3-5 years
There are many reasons why a body protector older than 3-5 years is likely to need replacing, but the main reason is that beyond this age, high performance foam can gradually degrade and the impact performance cannot be guaranteed. Heavy falls can also cause permanent damage which will further add to this.
In addition, a body protector older than 3-5 years is less likely to fit correctly and allow full range of movement, due to changes in your body shape. This is especially important for children.
It doesn’t fit you properly
If any of the below are true for you, then your body protector does not fit you properly and the protection it is offering you is compromised:
- It doesn’t cover your ribs
- It doesn’t allow you to move freely in the saddle, without the back length interfering.
- It is loose or moves when you’re riding
- It is tight or restrictive when riding, even on the loosest adjustment.
In addition to a poor fit compromising the level of protection, a badly fitting body protector is much more likely to influence or restrict your movement, which could in fact cause you to have an accident which may have otherwise been avoided. It also means you are much less likely to want to wear it. You can read our guide to checking the fit of your body protector, or view the video guide below:
There are visible signs of wear and tear
All our body protectors are made at our Northamptonshire factory and we’re very proud of their quality and durability. However, horse riding is an active outdoor sport and over time a certain level of wear and tear is to be expected.
Any of the following signs of wear and tear are likely to be associated with an older body protector and may lead to further damage during wear that could leave you with a below standard level of protection.
- Stitching breaking or fraying
- A broken zip, or one that won’t stay fastened to the top.
- Broken elastic fastenings.
- Damage in the form of cuts or abrasions to the surface of the body protector.
In some cases, where the body protector isn’t very old, accidental damage or damage caused by a fault can be fixed.
You have fallen off several times whilst wearing it
A heavy fall or repeated falls can sometimes cause the impact absorption properties within the body protector to permanently deteriorate. Check your body protector for dents after a fall; the foam should return to its original shape within around 30 minutes. If the foam does not expand back or permanently hardens, it is advisable to replace your body protector as the impact absorption will be reduced.
Concerned about your body protector?
If you are concerned about the fit of your body protector then we recommend using our handy guide to check the fit of your current body protector.
If you are thinking based on the above that it might be time for a replacement, then you might like to read our article about finding your size for a new Racesafe body protector, or you might like to find your nearest stockist.
Browse or Body Protectors
“Effects of body protection vests and experience levels in prevention of equestrian injuries” Andres et al, 2018. https://bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000426