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To be undecided about horse body protectors

(69 Posts)
IjustGotmy2016diary Sat 21-Nov-15 06:52:54

I am really undecided about whether I should get obe or not. Does anyone have any experience with them? They are expensive but in the flip side it could save me from injury. Or wouldn't it?

I looked in The Tack Room but there is not much input there.

Are they uncomfortable to ride in?

Decisions decisions. ...

IjustGotmy2016diary Sat 21-Nov-15 06:53:49

Sorry for the spelling mistakes!

Enjolrass Sat 21-Nov-15 06:56:26

I used to ride I. My teens and early twenties.

I fell off once really badly. Knocked out, ambulance etc. Doctors at a&he told me mine had helped stop me breaking ribs. They were bruised, but not broken.

I wouldn't ride without one and I don't allow dd to either.

I definitely feel they are worth the money. But take your time and make sure it's a good fit. Ill fitting ones are pointless

Booboostwo Sat 21-Nov-15 07:02:52

They prevent some injuries but not all of them, but then again that is true of all safety equipment.

There are many different versions so most people can find one they can forget they are wearing.

The only issue I have with mine is that I get quite hot in it.

honeysucklejasmine Sat 21-Nov-15 07:03:52

Dsis came off her horse whilst wearing one along with a helmet. She was severely concussed, had bruised ribs and dislocated her hip. Took weeks to recover her memory (suffered short term memory loss- it was like talking to Dory) and recovering physically took even longer.

This is with the protective items. Can't imagine what would have happened if she was just wearing a helmet.

IjustGotmy2016diary Sat 21-Nov-15 07:08:39

Many thanks everyone. It's so difficult to get current opinions. I did google search but all the discussions on here and other forum's were year's old.

The local riding shop who our stable recommend is having a discount sale on all protective gear this weekend and after falling off a couple of weeks ago, it has made me think more about getting one

Catscatsandmorecats Sat 21-Nov-15 07:10:25

I didn't used to like them as I found them very uncomfortable but would wear one when competing cross country. Now they are a lot more comfortable and I'm glad when I came off xc that I was wearing one. I also feel more confident competing now with one on. I suppose it depends what you want to do riding wise, your experience, what horse you are on, where you are riding etc. I don't wear one for hacking or flatwork but I have had dpony for nearly 18 years now and she is very safe so that's my decision to take that calculated and very small risk.

I'd say get one, as they are a must have for competition and if you find you are comfortable riding in it a great bit if extra protection.

ProjectPerfect Sat 21-Nov-15 07:19:32

DD and I ride at two stables - one insists on the children wearing them for lessons and the other doesn't permit them.

I think the rationale is similar to the argument with cycling helmets - in certain circumstances they can make your injury worse.

Dobbylugs Sat 21-Nov-15 07:20:50

You have to get exactly the right size for it to offer comfort and protection. If you don't get the right fit then I wouldn't bother personally. It is horrible if it restricts movement too much or knocks the pommel or cantle every time you move in the saddle because it is too long in the body in order to fit round the chest. Some places do more size options / made to measure which are good but more expensive. I wouldn't wear one for general riding day to day and I am definitely not someone to take risks. Having said that if you think it will give you confidence and or piece of mind go for it but make sure it fits.

hefzi Sat 21-Nov-15 07:36:13

Project I've been wondering about that recently: eventing in particular seems to have far more fatal falls than previously - I wondered if it was because previously, these people would have had life changing injuries, as there is some evidence that body protectors can alter the way you fall, and stop you rounding and rolling, meaning you are more likely to snap your neck in a particular place. (I've explained that really badly - not that you're more likely to be badly injured, but just, if you fall in such and such a way, your body protector means that a break will be on a certain vetebra or above as a result).

They've certainly become more comfortable, more responsive and more protective over the years - but I still only wear one XC and not at all out hunting: probably for no reason other than habit, mind you. I believe too, like your hat, certain falls require some brands to be replaced, even if no damage is completely apparent, but I'm happy to be corrected on that.

I do have a friend who broke his back whilst wearing one - went out the side door at a walk, and landed badly - but I think that million to one chances will happen irrespective. Plus, they offer some good protection against broken collar bones and ribs, which always seem to hurt so much more than anything else...

desertmum Sat 21-Nov-15 07:36:46

I wear one and so do my kids when jumping, cross country or when the horses are a bit over excited. We have the racesafe brand that are more comfortable as they are more flexible. A friend had a terrible accident recently eventing - she was saved from worse injury by her body protector. she is now investing in one of the air bag type - but she competes at a high (silly scarey!) level.
Agree with Dobby about making sure it fits well - Racesafe do various body lengths in each size.

Ememem84 Sat 21-Nov-15 07:40:52

I don't wear one. I sold mine because I found it was too restrictive.

My instructor doesn't advise them as she's seen too many people have worse injuries from wearing them. In her eyes people take more risks if they think they're protected. So act stupid.

Salene Sat 21-Nov-15 07:56:38

Before I gave up horses at the start of this year after 30 years I always rode in my racesafe body protector and my airjacket

Once you have been lying in a hospital bed with multiple injuries you very things differently

I had a very difficult 17hh 4 year old WB who hospitalised me on numerous occasions after that I'd never get on without both

Even when doing a dressage test.

Wouldn't matter if I was hacking , schooling , jumping

My friend is the same but it took her a experience of lying in hospital with a broken back to do it

And that was from a stupid fall riding a new backed 3 year old trotting over a pole who tripped and her snd the horse hit the floor and she broke her back but luckily walked again and rode again

So for me they were a must after that

bumbleymummy Sat 21-Nov-15 07:58:00

We always wear them. Depending on what you're doing, they can be cumpolsory. I don't find mine uncomfortable but it can be a bit warm in the summer. (Nice in the winter though! smile )

Salene Sat 21-Nov-15 07:58:02

Oh and you soon get used to them and don't even notice them, they become like a hat , just something you wear without even thinking about it

bumbleymummy Sat 21-Nov-15 07:59:04


SayrraT Sat 21-Nov-15 08:43:04

I only wear one when it is required under competition rules. I have a racesafe which is very flexible and actually quite comfortable to ride in.

LaLaLaaaa Sat 21-Nov-15 09:11:43

My worst fall was in a yard at a walk - horse spooked and I fell off onto my back on concrete. My body protector likely saved me from serious injury.

I don't understand people only wearing them in competition or jumping as accidents can happen at any point. Get it fitted properly and it will be comfortable

MelcombeBingham Sat 21-Nov-15 10:31:41

I broke 4 ribs as an adult. Absolutely smashed to bits broke. If anything, anything ever could have lessened that I would have paid any Sun of money for it. Sadly I don't think they had been invented then. Broken ribs is worse than anything. Labour, pneumonia, burst ear drum included in my opinion.

Plomino Sat 21-Nov-15 10:48:31

I wear my air jacket all the time . Every time I ride whether that's hacking , working in the school , or competing cross country . The worst fall I've had in recent years was when I was out hacking on a usually deserted road , when a part of a trailer being towed by a tractor came unhitched , crashed to the ground , and then got dragged towards us in a shower of sparks . Normally perfectly behaved horse went straight up in the air , slipped , and hit the road , pinning me under his shoulder . Had I not had the air jacket , I shudder to think what could have happened . As it was , I got away with a broken wrist . These days I would no more go without my body protector than my hat .

FindoGask Sat 21-Nov-15 10:50:19

I never wore one except when doing cross-country. They weren't such a thing when i was riding twenty years ago or so.

Helenluvsrob Sat 21-Nov-15 10:58:19

Non rider here but I do asess risk often ( personally, not professionally)

Safety equipment can turn people into risk taking idiots and I guess there is an element of that in sports safety stats. That aside, from what people have said above these change the incidence of serious injury but possibly not death. Sounds like the cycle helmet stuff. You can be the most cautious rider ( horses or bikes) and things external to you can still cause a fall. Why wouldn't you use one?

ghostyslovesheep Sat 21-Nov-15 11:02:03

I always wore one and so did my kids - haven't ridden for a year since the eldest 2 girls decided to concentrate on football but hope to return in the spring with the youngest

sparechange Sat 21-Nov-15 11:06:54

The school where I have occasion lessons has made them compulsory for all jumping work for adults and all riding for children.
They said their policy was after their most recent BHS inspection, as they will now only be awarding commended and highly commended ratings to schools with this policy in place.
So I expect it will become more commonplace as the inspection cycles work through other schools.

Much like skiing helmets are now more or less ubiquitous for teenagers who have only ever known wearing them for lessons as children, I suspect body protectors will be the same in a generation.
Children learning to ride today will see than as standard equipment, like a hat, so will carry that habit on to adulthood.

CaveMum Sat 21-Nov-15 11:08:00

the fact that they are compulsory in many professional situations (cross country, horse racing - not just for jockeys but for work riders too, etc) tells you everything you need to know. Some riding schools won't let you ride without them these days.

No they're not cheap or the most comfortable things in the world, but you can't put a price on safety.

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