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A new certification scheme has been introduced to make it easier for riders to ensure they are wearing high-visibility garments that comply with British safety standards.

Under EU legislation introduced last April, high-vis garments must now conform to safety standards for colour and luminescence and meet requirements for wear.

Although horse kit is not included in the legislation, there are three high-vis standards for rider clothing — professional use, leisure use and one for accessories such as gloves and chaps.

The new certification scheme — different coloured labels and stickers —launched by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) aims to make identifying these three standards easier.

“There is a lot of confusion over the safety standards,” said Claire Williams, BETA executive director. “The marking system will clarify things.

“The colour-coded labels will enable customers to buy with knowledge and confidence as they know that all the checking has been done by BETA.”

Garments certified for professional use (EN471) are represented by an aqua label, those for leisure use (EN1150) by a royal blue label and accessories (EN13356) by a navy blue label.

Ms Williams added: “It is not compulsory for companies to join the scheme, but by doing so they are helping the retailer and consumer to understand.”

Sheila Hardy, safety officer for the British Horse Society, said: “Anything that makes the standards clearer, such as a colour code, has got to be a good thing.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (4 March, ’10)