Choosing a Body Protector - Our Guide

Everything You Need To Know About Body Protectors – Our Guide

Body Protectors

The vast majority of us would never consider riding without our hat, right? After all, accident’s happen, usually when we least expect! An integral part of enjoying time with our horses is staying safe and preventing injuries. While in the past wearing a body protector may have been deemed ‘uncool’ or ‘uncomfortable’, times are changing! Their effectiveness, comfort, affordability and style are always improving! Take a look at what you need to know….

What do they do?

Body protectors are designed to keep us safe in the saddle and on the ground. They absorb the impact created when falling off, being kicked or getting stood on. Their role is to protect the internal organs, defend the chest and ribs and guard against soft tissue injuries. They can’t completely eliminate the risk of injury. However, they can drastically reduce the severity!

Who are they for?

First things first, they’re for all of us! Whether a child, adult, newbie, novice, experienced or professional rider. Thankfully, the stigma around wearing one is rapidly disappearing! Did you know that approximately 70% of accidents occur at home or while out hacking, not during competition? Consequently, more and more of us now own a body protector for everyday wear!

Anatomy of a Body Protector

Anatomy of a Body Protector

1. Shoulder Protectors – A massive 22% of equestrian injuries requiring hospital treatment are to the shoulders. Shoulder protectors are designed to defend the scapulars and ends of the collar bone. Research into Eventing has shown that wearing BETA Level 3 shoulder protectors can reduce the risk of breaking the collar bone by up to 80%.

2. Outer Material – The foam is normally covered by fabric to keep it clean and protected.

3. Inner Material – Most body protectors have 2 levels of PVC Nitrile foam that are heat sensitive. Many also soften and mold to the riders body. The foam is often perforated to reduce weight, increase flexibility and improve airflow. Always check the foam for dents after a fall, they should vanish within 30 minutes.

4. Weight – The lighter the foam the harder it is when not in use, the heavier the foam the softer.

5. Fastenings – These can be zip, sliding buckle, clip, lace or velcro. This depends on the style and design of the body protector.

6. Lining – Usually made from a breathable mesh.

Standards

Recognised as the worldwide industry standard for over 25 years, always choose a product that carries the BETA label. Earning this means the product meets the EN13158 standard and has a CE mark. This is recommended by all leading riding organisations and disciplines.

EN13158 Standard
Provides the technical specification for equestrian body protectors and sets the level of shock absorption required in every garment. This standard dictates the area of the body that must be covered, ensures there a minimal gaps between the foam panels and ensures closures are safe.

CE Mark
The CE Kitemark is a mandatory declaration that the product conforms to the European Directive for Personal Protective Equipment.

Over the years body protector standards have changed, increasing the level of protection offered. The most recent revised standard is from 2018. Garments to the 2009 standard are also still valid, until 2023. When looking at the performance levels, there is no difference in the protection offered and both will be excepted by most disciplines and rider organisations until further notice. Production of the 2009 versions stopped at the end of 2018. Older garments which display BETA 2000, red Level 5, blue Level 7, green Class 1, orange Class 2 or purple Class 3 labels should all be replaced.

Levels of Protection

There are 3 levels, designed to offer varying levels of protection. The primary difference is the thickness of the foam used to absorb and spread impacts.

Body Protector Levels

Level 1

Black Label (2009) or Green Label (2018)
Body protectors providing a lower level of impact protection. Level 1 Body Protectors are no longer allowed in racing.

Level 2

Brown Label (2009) or Orange Label (2018)
Provides a lower than normal level of protection. Appropriate for low risk situations. Level 2 will be allowed in racing as it offers 50% more protection to direct blows then level 1. This is not suitable for hacking, jumping, breaking, riding excitable horses or for inexperienced riders.

Level 3

Purple Label (2009) or Blue Label (2018)
Body protectors that provide a normal level of protection for everyday riding, competition and ground work.

The Fitting of Body Protectors

The correct fit is essential to ensure the garment can do its job when needed. Here at Naylors we offer free safety wear fittings in-store. Our staff are trained to ensure you leave with a well fitted garment, putting your safety first. To check the fit of your current body protector at home, have a watch of this video…

Body Protectors At Naylors 

Champion Ti22 Body Protector

From £134.00

The Champion Unisex Ti22 Body Protector is available for adults and children. Meeting Level 3 standard, this flexible segmented garment is manufactured using ultra lightweight and protective foam. Additional features include heavy duty YKK zips and military-grade outer mesh.

Racesafe Provent 3.0

From £160.00

Racesafe’s latest Level 3 high specification body protector meets the highest European and BETA standards. Not just for pro’s, it’s designed for riders of every level. Breathable and lightweight, it has a comfortable and non-restrictive fit, moulding to your body shape. Available for adults and children.

Airowear Outlyne

From £109.99

Airowear Outlyne body protectors are manufactured using lightweight and highly protective UltraFlex technology foam. Angled straps with a zip up front closure secure them in place. Available in junior, teen, ladies and men’s sizes to better suit every body type and size.

Point Two ProAir Jacket

The Point Two ProAir helps to distribute pressure and absorb shock. It supports the spinal column in the event of a fall. When inflated, the air bag system offers the collar of the neck and trunk more support. Therefore, it reduces the risk of over bending the spinal column. These can be worn alone or over your usual body protector.

Shoulder Protectors At Naylors

Champion Ti22 Shoulder Protectors

From £36.00

Ergonomically shaped level 3 shoulder protectors. Designed to mold to the contours of the shoulder for superior comfort and defence. Attach and adjust using touch tape straps. Available in adult and junior sizes.

Outlyne Shoulder Protectors

Offering level 3 defence, Outlyne Shoulder Protectors are manufactured using a multi-layer impact absorbing foam. They fasten to the body protector using touch tape tabs and can be adjusted to the correct size. They also offer a PVC medical card holder for personal information. Available in adult and junior sizes.

When To Replace

Over time, materials can deteriorate. This occurs regardless of whether they’ve been damaged in a fall. As a result, it’s recommended that you replace your body protectors every 3-5 years.

Should you have a fall wearing your body protector, inspect it for any damage. If the foam is dented, it should return back to its natural shape after 30 minutes. However, if it does not, it’s recommended you replace it as the impact absorption qualities may have decreased.

W hope you’ve found this helpful. For more information or advice when choosing a body protector do not hesitate to take a trip down to our Superstore or contact Customer Services on 01706 507 555 for expert advice.


8 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About Body Protectors – Our Guide”

  1. HiDo body protector s need replacing after 5 years if the haven’t been used at all and have just been purchased?

    1. Hi Poppy,
      Thanks for getting in touch. Much like most things, safety products do have a shelf life. Over time the materials can start to deteriorate, regardless of whether the item is being used. This deterioration means they are no longer able to provide the protection that they once did and may no longer effectively prevent injury. We would therefore recommend that older products are replaced where possible.
      Kind Regards
      Ashleigh

  2. Hello,
    Of Champion Adult Ti22 Body Protector and Racesafe Adults Provent 3.0 Body Protector, which is more comfortable, which is more lightweight and which is easier to fit (for a young lady)? Both offer same level of protection, correct? It’s for general horse riding.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lia,
      Thanks for your comment. Both of these body protectors provide level three protection, fantastic for general riding and competition. With regards to fit and comfort, this will vary based on body shape and personal preference. Ideally, body protectors should be professionally fitted. If you are able to attend one of our stores, you can book a fitting appointment online for free. If you aren’t able to visit us, we’d recommend taking measurements of the riders chest, waist, over the shoulders and back to find the style which suits best.
      If there is anything further that we can do please give our customer service team a call on 01706 507555.
      Kind Regards
      Ashleigh

  3. Hi, can you clarify please? Is it correct, that if you have an Air Jacket, you should wear a body protector underneath it?

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve had a look into this for you, Point-Two say “You can wear the air jacket on its own and it will offer the protection it is designed to. Many people prefer the lightweight convenience of the air jacket compared with traditionally bulky foam body protectors.

      However, in certain disciplines (for example eventing XC phase) the associations require a foam body protector be worn, and in these cases an air jacket would be worn over the top of the traditional body protector OR riders can choose the P2RS hybrid jacket. Point Two will always recommend that more the best protection an air jacket should be worn over the top of a body protector.”
      I hope that this has helped to answer your question.
      Kind Regards
      Ashleigh

    1. Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The sizing chosen whether this be ladies or childrens would be dependant on your daughters measurements and the body protector that is most suited to the correct fit for her.

      We do offer a free body protector fitting service in all of our stores if you are local to any of these. I have attached a link below to the stores information.

      https://www.naylors.com/help/stores

      Alternatively our customer service team can also help with this on 01706 507555 or [email protected].

      I hope this information helps and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

      Kind regards

      Nicci

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