Body Armour Safety Standards
Many of life's most enjoyable activities also involve risks, horse riding is no different. At one time or another a rider no matter how experienced will probably take a fall, so it is important to wear safety equipment to help protect against serious injury.
Body Protection Made Easy
Whether you’re planning to go eventing, about to back a young horse or just go out hacking, consideration should always be given to body protection.
Designed to absorb impact from a fall or kick from a horse, body protectors are compulsory for some competitions. But an increasing number of riders report feeling more confident - and therefore riding more positively - when wearing one in everyday situations from hacking to schooling over fences.
Another reason many more riders are opting for body protection is that modern garments are more flexible and lightweight than their predecessors. Not only that, 21st century body protectors come in fun, fashionable colours (or plain if you prefer), are quick and easy to put on - and don’t necessarily cost as much as you may think.
A good fit is the key to comfort and safety.
Body Armour Standards
BETA originally brought together riding organisations, doctors, riders, manufacturers and retailers to develop the now widely recognised BETA Body Protector Standard.
The BETA 2000 and 2009 Body Protector Standard meets all the requirements of the European standard (EN 13158:2000). A revised edition of the BETA 2000 and 2009 standard was published and adopted by BETA in April 2009. The BETA 2000 and 2009 version will continue as a current stanard for the next 2 years. Under the BETA Standard, garments are additionally re-tested annually for consistency of quality of materials used and manufacture.
The BETA Standard sets criteria for shock-absorption, controls the area of the body that must be covered and ensures there are minimal gaps between the protective foam panels. It encompasses three levels, each designed for different activities and denoted by a colour-coded label on the garment.
- Level 1 (black label) provides the lowest level of protection
that is only considered appropriate for licensed jockeys while racing.
- Level 2 (brown label) offers a lower than normal level of
protection so is considered suitable for low risk situations - not
including jumping, riding on theroads, riding young or excitable horses
or riding while inexperienced.
- Level 3 (purple label) is considered appropriate for general
riding, competitions including eventing and working with horses. Level 3
body protectors should prevent minor bruising that wouldhave produced
stiffness and pain, reduce soft tissue injuries and prevent a limited
number of rib fractures.
There is a separate BETA Standard for shoulder protectors. Research into 50 falls onto the shoulder during eventing competitions revealed that among the 30 riders not wearing shoulder protection, there were six broken collarbones and two dislocated shoulders, but no fractures among the 20 fallers who were wearing shoulder protectors to BETA Level 3.
Buying Your Body Protector