The best body protectors for horse riding are designed to absorb the shock impact caused by a fall, kick or being caught under your horse’s hooves. They can be used by all riders, from the complete beginner to the elite, and are compulsory if you’re eventing at any level. More riders than ever before are opting to wear body protectors and the latest designs are more lightweight and flexible than they have been in the past. You can also get ones to match your cross-country colours.
We’ve compiled a list of the best body protectors for horse riding on the market – they all conform to the latest BETA level 3 standard (2018). If you’d like more information about choosing a body protector, we are here to help. Wherever you choose to buy, we strongly recommend that you have your body protector fitted by a professional BETA-trained fitter.
Champion Titanium Ti22
Fit: Unisex | Standard: BETA level 3 (2018) | Colours: Black or gunmetal grey | Sizes: Infant, child, youth or adult, in a range of sizes and lengths | RRP: From £145
This flexible segmented body protector is made of a military grade outer mesh, ultra-lightweight foam, and cool-feel titanium coloured inner lining.
Charles Owen Airowear Outlyne
Fit: Gender-specific | Standard: BETA level 3 (2018) | Colours: Black/graphite, can be customised | Sizes: Kids, teens, ladies’ or men’s, in a range of sizes and lengths | RRP: From £121
This body protector is designed to offer a tailored fit for your body type, which maximises protection while allowing unrestricted movement. It can be customised to match your cross-country colours.
More info, stockists or view at charlesowen.com
Fomo Faze body protector
Fit: Ladies’ | Standard: BETA level 3 (2018) | Colours: Black or taupe | Sizes: 6–16, with three length options | RRP: £299
The Faze features a dial system that helps to provide the perfect fit by moulding to your body shape. It also comes with a removable, washable outer.
More info or view at fomoprotection.com
Racesafe ProVent 3.0
Fit: Unisex | Standard: BETA level 3 (2018) | Colours: Black | Sizes: Child or adult, in a range of sizes and lengths | RRP: From £155
Racesafe’s most popular body protector is very lightweight (0.95kg for adult size) and breathable. It has been updated for an improved fit and the versatility to fit all shapes and sizes of rider. It features independently hinged sections and elasticated adjustments to offer increased movement and comfort.
Stübben safety vest
Fit: Unisex | Standard: BETA level 3 (2018) | Colours: Black | Sizes: Junior, regular or slim, in XS–XL | RRP: £299
This new body protector is having a bit of trouble finding its way into our hands because of Brexit, but it will be available from UK retailers in the next few weeks – we’ll bring you a link as soon as we have one.
More info at stuebben.co.uk
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What size body protector do I need?
Body protectors can’t be fitted as easily as selecting your age or clothing size. It’s really important that, wherever possible, you have your body protector fitted by a BETA-trained retailer. Some brands offer virtual fittings where their products aren’t available in stores.
What standard do body protectors need to be?
There are three levels of protection – you should look for BETA level 3, which is the highest standard of protection for horse riding. If your governing body or organisation (for example, The Pony Club) requires that you wear a body protector, this the standard they’re looking for.
There are two versions of this standard – 2009 (purple label) and 2018 (blue label). They have the same level of protection, but the 2009 version ceased manufacturing in 2018. You’ll still find these purple-labelled body protectors in stores and online while older stock works through the market for at least five years from 2018. Governing bodies and rider organisations will continue to recognise and accept both labels until further notice.
If you specifically want to buy one that meets the 2018 version of the standard so that you can be sure you’re able to wear it in the future, check the product you’re buying features a blue label. Some products will look exactly the same and have the same name – it’s only the label that’s different.
How long do body protectors last?
You should replace your body protector at least every three to five years – after this time the impact absorption properties of the foam may have started to decline. If you have a heavy fall, check your body protector for dents immediately. The foam will return to its original shape within half an hour but a dent would suggest that this part of the body protector will have lot some absorption properties and you should, therefore, replace it.
Taking good care of your body protector means that it will last longer within the three to five year recommended lifespan. Avoid leaving it lying around at the yard or in the lorry where it might get damaged, or in your hot car or damp tack room, which is likely to cause it to deteriorate. When not in use, hang it up with the zips and Velcro fastened.
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