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The tack room

Body Protectors

10 replies

nomorechoco · 21/07/2023 09:45

Hi. My teen daughter has been riding for a few years and does a canter class. She's trying to persuade me that she doesn't need her body protector and it's restrictive.

I know nothing about horses at all but seems to me that she really should be wearing one at this level. Could someone who knows advise me?

OP posts:
JasonOsCubanHeels · 21/07/2023 09:48

how old is it? Maybe if she’s had it a few years it doesn’t fit her well anymore but the more likely explanation is she thinks it’s uncool if other class members don’t have to wear one.

you could speak to her instructor about if they feel it’s necessary but actually if she’s cantering or jumping I would just tell her she needs to wear it.

Maddy70 · 21/07/2023 10:03

Everyone should wear a body protector. But. They are a bit uncomfortable to wear , one saved my daughters back when she had a really nasty fall

Lastqueenofscotland2 · 21/07/2023 10:10

I actually don’t like them. Unless they fit perfectly (which realistically for a child is about for one week) they can make it harder to “tuck” when you fall and can make you land weirdly. If they don’t fit properly they can be restrictive and make it more likely that you fall.
I wear them for XC and when I was brave and 8stone used to wear them to ride work on. That’s it.

maxelly · 21/07/2023 12:52

There's quite a few threads on this if you advance search with links to available evidence and interesting discussion of risk assessments in horse-riding, the difference between absolute and relative risk etc. But basically the TLDR is that it's a personal decision. Most people agree body protectors are uncomfortable and probably do affect your balance and flexibility, so make you ride worse (although not necessarily more likely to fall). But people vary in whether they think that because riding is (relatively) a risky sport you should do whatever you can to reduce that risk (and body protectors definitely are a good way to reduce - although not eliminate - the risk of a very serious injury). Other people take the line that as the risk is in absolute terms still very, very low, particularly for the kind of riding your DD does, i.e. in a riding school, on a quiet well trained horse, under qualified supervision and in an enclosed area with a soft surface, it's not worth spoiling the enjoyment of the hobby by making yourself/your child uncomfortable for a very small % reduction in risk.

Personally I wear one myself for hacking and XC but not otherwise. I made my DC wear them for jumping also (somewhat hypocritically I don't wear one myself to showjump now, but at my stage in life I can live with the possible risks). I didn't make them wear one to canter on the flat in the school. But like I say, personal choices. If you do make her wear one do get the best possible model (the more expensive ones aren't necessarily safer but are often more comfortable) and make sure it fits properly which probably will entail frequent replacements as she grows...

nomorechoco · 21/07/2023 19:48

Thanks everyone. It's a hard call for me. I know I wouldn't forgive myself if something bad happened. This has given me stuff to mull over (more). I'll also look at past threads re. this. Thanks :)

OP posts:
liveforsummer · 22/07/2023 10:44

My dc wear them only for xc. Certainly for flat work they can affect your position and balance and even make you more likely to fall. A friend on mine broke her shoulder in an sj accident and the dr's think the body protector actually caused it. If you insist though I'd recommend a race safe as by far the most comfortable (used to work in racing where they were compulsory) and make sure its professionally fitted

Flamingomumma · 22/07/2023 20:13

My daughter and I both ride and we always wear ours. A friend always laughs at me for wearing mine. Once I decided not to wear mine and a bird flew in front, spooked pony and I had a horrendous fall. We both wear racesafe provent 3.0 and we both agree that they are incredibly comfortable. I am aware though that they do restrict position etc.

Newuser75 · 25/07/2023 22:05

Me and my kids wear them while riding, always! I just think you would never forgive yourself if something happened that maybe could have been prevented. We take every precaution we can.

RatherBeRiding · 26/07/2023 11:40

They are restrictive, no doubt about it. Myself and DD have only ever worn them for XC but it is personal preference. Riding is a risk sport. You can still suffer serious injury whilst wearing a body protector - never forget that. And also worth bearing in mind what, specifically, a body protector might protect you from - spinal injury when hitting a solid XC fence for example. I'm a bit on the fence about them because they have never protected me from concussion and the horrendous falls that have resulted in extensive soft tissue injury. A friend, who always wears one, recently had a fall that resulted in a snapped femur.

There are BPs that are more comfortable than others. The Racesafe ones are probably the best but none of them are particularly nice to wear.

Ariela · 26/07/2023 12:07

My daughter has one but rarely uses it - only for XC. But she's barely fallen off.
If your daughter is often falling off I would question the skills of the instructors/standard of the riding school, as your daughter should be balanced and well seated regardless of the pony/what the pony does.
Even a 'naughty' pony that tries to unseat a rider would struggle, really struggle to shift DD - she loves winning the bucking bronko type game at a fair, she'll time her go to get on after the most macho male looser just to make a point.

Even so, I understand your concern, and in fact landing on poles when she starts jumping and then falls off is perhaps the worst part, so I would suggest a compromise, she doesn't have one for canter/flatwork, but when she starts jumping/ jumping higher than she already is.

DD has to upgrade next year to a more recent specification for competition (compulsory for XC element when Eventing etc), and has in mind a new Racesafe - I think it may be the Motion 3 one - it's light, fits very well and is comfortable to get on/off horse in, as well as ride in, doesn't impinge on movement. Not cheap, but very good.

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