A prototype body protector on show at Burghley and Blenheim could reduce life-threatening crush injuries sustained when horses fall on to their riders, according to inventors Alasdair Kirk and Matthew Aspray.
The BodyCage is a rigid “skeleton” that will be enclosed in a traditional foam body protector. The design has been inspired by technology used to protect rally drivers in a crash. The cage is hinged to allow entry and exit and it is also said to be easily adjustable to fit a wide range of sizes.
The inventors are currently in discussion with a protective equipment manufacturer about producing the finished garment and it is believed that the retail price will be around £200.
British Eventing is watching the developments with interest, since it is in sports such as eventing and racing that crushing injuries are most likely to occur.
Chief executive Peter Durrant looks forward to seeing it tested by riders. “I am full of admiration for the designers. We’re totally supportive of any new initiative like this because we are a safety conscious sport,” he says.
British Equestrian Trade Association chief executive Claire Williams comments: “Other manufacturers have looked at the use of solid panels in body protectors, but there is always the risk that these can cause additional damage to the rider. However, for the performance rider, crushing is a real danger and anything that can give additional protection has to be worthwhile.”
Riding injuries expert Dr Michael Whitlock agrees: “In principle it is a very good idea, although it is early days yet. It will be interesting to see the finished garment.”
For more information visit: www.bodycage.co.uk