Riders are urged not to go for the cheapest option when it comes to safety, after a body protector was found to be substandard by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

Recent tests on a body protector (not pictured) bought from an online auction site was not only found to offer “very little protection”, it also was made with cancer-causing materials, said BETA.

BETA received the tip-off from a member of the public who had seen the body protectors for sale online.

“The garments had the appearance of a well-known brand, but were a fraction of the price you would normally expect to pay for such a garment,” said a spokesman.

BETA bought and tested two of the body protectors.

“They didn’t even reach BETA Level 1,” said director Claire Williams. “We were also horrified to discover that the materials used in manufacture were found to be carcinogenic.

“This really highlights the importance of checking the provenance of a garment and for avoiding second-hand buys.

“If you see a body protector of dubious origin and it looks just like a well-known brand — but has a cheap price tag — avoid it at all costs.”

The body protectors have since been removed from the site.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (19 September 2013).