You have probably seen that our new equestrian confidence series has now arrived. If you want to know more you can check out episode one here.
Each week we are releasing either a blog or interview/video around an aspect of being an equestrian and especially around equestrian confidence.
This week I wanted to share something that is one of those subjects that everyone has an opinion on.
Currently they are only mandatory in FEI Eventing. They have carried a stigma for years.
I have spoken to so many riders creating this series and they all have opinions, I also found lots of gaps within generations of riders where you can see how body protectors have been perceived.
I don’t think I ever wore one growing up, I had non horsey parents so they didn’t know and one one ever said.
It was only as I became an adult that I started to think about the pros and cons. Up until recently they were never the comfiest item. So yes I had one, no I never really wore it.
Yet as a parent, my kids had body protectors and wore them.
Hypocritical I know.
However in 2012 my opinion changed.
I was trialing a horse we were looking at buying, I shared the story in video one (click here to watch) of this series.
As soon as I got on the horse it was a bad idea but I brushed it off. Before I rode though something made me go back the car and get my body protector, despite that I rarely wore and had only taken to pacify my husband, I felt I should wear it.
Little did I know the impact that decision would make.
My body protector is the reason that I am not in a wheelchair. I would have been paralised without it.
That was when I realised the importantce.
No they don’t stop every injury but they decrease the chance of sever injury.
We have all heard that you are not a real rider until you fall off 7 times, 10 times, 15 times….we all know its nonsense but riding is risky so why wouldn’t you protect yourself. A study carried out by the British Medial Journal showed that using a body protector decreased the risk of injury during cross country by 56% regardless of the riders experience! 56%!
Body Protectors are now at the top of my shopping list, I spend money on getting properly fitted and ensuring they meet safety standards. I champion others wearing them, and am first to say when someone isn’t wearing one. We all love our horses but we shouldn’t be in a culture where we risk our safety for our hobby.
They are the marmite of the equestrian world. Everyone has an opinion.
One of those things that you don’t see the value and benefit from until its too late.
We put our safety into the hooves of half a tonne of flight animal on a regular basis, a body protector might seem irritating and not look great but you cannot predict how your horse will react on each ride as they are flight animals. You wouldn’t go jumping or hack out with no helmet to protect your head, so shouldn’t you be protecting your back, pelvis and vital organs in the same way?
My kids have recently discovered Champion titanium body protectors and love them, and that is the next one I am going for.
I would love to know what you think, do you love them or hate them?
When purchasing always make sure you take advice on the safety regulations and fit from a qualified professional.