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Former H&H deputy news editor

British Eventing moves to make air jacket BETA-approved

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British Eventing (BE) is working with the makers of an innovative and popular inflatable jacket.

Since the Point Two jacket (tested in H&H, 26 March) was launched earlier this year its popularity has soared and now the makers claim half the UK’s top eventers are wearing them.

But the jacket, which costs £399, does not conform to BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) safety standards and therefore cannot be recommended by BE.

“We would like to talk to BETA to see if they can create a category [specifically] for the Point Two,” said BE spokesman Iain Graham.

“But currently all data on its benefits is circumstantial. We cannot recommend it until it has undergone further tests.”

The jacket is worn over a body protector and connects to the saddle by a lanyard. In a fall it inflates to create a rigid support around the body.

BETA’s Claire Williams said: “The Point Two does not meet the European standard for body protectors but we are happy to discuss it with BE.”

Lee Middleton, director of Point Two Equine, said the jacket will go through rigorous testing on a crash-test dummy in the autumn and X-rays will be taken to prove a rider’s neck is not hyperflexed when the jacket inflates.

He added: “Once inflated, the jacket holds you really tight and reduces flexing of the spine. It also absorbs quite a bit of the concussion of a fall.”

For more information visit: www.point-two.co.uk

For this story in full, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (4 June, ’09)