Riders will be allowed to wear Exo BodyCages at British Eventing (BE) competitions after changes to body protector rules come into force next year.
From 1 January 2018, only body protectors carrying the BETA level three 2009 label, or any subsequent standard, will be allowed at BE competitions.
This raised concerns from riders who wear the Exo BodyCage that they would no longer be allowed to wear the anti-crush device in affiliated competitions because it is only approved to BETA 2000 level three standard (news, 6 October 2016). The company that designed the product ceased to exist in September 2008 with the patent donated to the Riding for the Disabled Association.
The safety device is designed to protect a rider’s chest by withstanding the weight of a horse in the event of a fall.
However a statement from BE today (7 December) confirmed the organisation will allow riders to continue to wear the product.
“Any wearer of the BodyCage should be encouraged to inspect their garment for wear and tear particularly to the foam panels and to the side fastenings,” said a statement from BE.
“Garments should not be worn if they have suffered any damage as this could seriously impair the protection offered.
“The competitor should also declare to the secretary that they will be wearing the Exo BodyCage so that officials can be alerted to this.”
Jennifer Galuszka credits the cage from saving her from serious injury in a horse fall in 2013.
She told H&H she has been in contact with BE over the matter and is “delighted” with the decision.
“I would not wish to continue eventing without wearing the Exo and am delighted at BE’s response,” she added.
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Fellow eventer Olivia Heywood thanked BE for reconsidering.
“This is very positive news as it is the only body protector specifically designed and tested [without mechanical working parts] to provide crush protection in the event of a rotational fall,” she said.
“I would not want to ride cross country without it.”
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