Body Protectors. Comments?

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Cathy Reynolds

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Sep 18, 2000
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I wwear mine for hacking out, but not in the school. The grandchildren don't ride without them Hannah didn't even remember she had hers on until she was going home in the car, after riding/ taking Benny to the field, chores etc!
 

Yvonne M

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Nov 8, 2000
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I always ride in mine. I never sit on a horse without it on. I have had some falls & I was told that it would have been much worse if I hadn't been wearing one. Again it is each to their own, I feel confident in one.
 

galadriel

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Feb 27, 2002
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My Tipperary (Tipperary Eventer, I think) is actually quite comfortable, not restrictive. A bit warmer than I'd've been without it (and that's already pretty warm)--but for xc, I feel better with it. Cross-country jumps don't break if you hit them--YOU do. I don't expect it to save me from twisting or crushing, but it will definitely be there in case of impact!

Hey, Peace, here's somebody in the southern US wearing a body protector ;)
http://www.galadriel.shaftnet.org/horses/milford-river-xc/

It was deadly hot but it was worth it, I do think. Jumping can be unpredictable even on a sane horse (and, well, I wasn't ;) ).

Body protectors are required for competing cross-country here. There are NO standards defining what is acceptable; anything that calls itself a body protector will do. But I really don't think the design of it is going to make much difference, unless it *is* bulky or uncomfortable enough to restrict your riding, at which point you've picked the wrong one. All I expect mine to do is cushion me a bit if the horse and I do have a parting of the ways.
 

mikka

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May 11, 2002
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not for the goose, only for the goslings

I never wear mine but insist that my children wear theirs (and their helmets) the minute they enter the stable. I'm not so concerned about falls, but am worried about hoof blows to spleen and liver - though all this interesting information about increased fall injury, especially from lack of mobility, IS giving me pause. My main concern is related to kicks on the ground and hoof impact during falls. (I'd love to know if anyone has info on the latter - how common is it for people to be struck by hooves during falls?)

In terms of fall injuries, I realize that it's more than a little silly to demand that my son wear his protector when he has all of, uh, 40" to tumble from the Shetland he rides! But I'm a paranoid mother. I also insist on Peacocks though I'm not entirely convinced they work. (Now, being dragged IS a serious fear of mine and I'd appreciate any opinions on how to avoid or reduce this kind of event. I almost always ride without stirrups, even for rising trot, unless told to do otherwise in lessons.)

An interesting phenomenon has occurred around our stable concerning body protectors. Where a couple of months ago my kids were ridiculed mercilessly by other young riders for being "overly" protected, now every single one of those taunters is wearing a body protector. In this case, it's a parent-driven fashion. But it offers an interesting insight into how marketing trends arise, and it supports Wally's opinion about band-wagoning.
 

Mehitabel

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Mar 27, 2001
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i definitely see some bandwagoning at our yard with the kids and their parents - in the last year or so, nearly all of the little kids have started wearing them. there's quite a good second hand trade going on through the yard with kids who have outgrown theirs. as i've said, i think if you learn to ride wearing one, you will probably adapt fine to it, but it is tough to adapt to them when you're used to not wearing one.
all our school ponies have either bent leg or rubber band stirrups, and i always insist on them when i'm breaking a youngster. mind you, i usually lose my stirrups before i fall off anyway! you should also insist that the catch on the stirrup bar is down, so the leather itself can come off easily.
i have been kicked and trodden on during falls, and i do think this is one area where body protectors are very useful.
it really depends on what kind of fall you're prone to - if you tend to slither off gradually, then you're more likely to keep one stirrup and end up under the horse. i tend to get thrown clear (and hit the ground pretty hard!), as it takes a fair bit to get me off these days! i could definitely have done with a body protector when i was a kid and used to fall off as regularly as clockwork, and because i was a slitherer, i used to end up under the pony quite frequently.
 

cvb

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Oct 23, 2001
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have their uses

I got kicked 2 weeks ago and was NOT wearing a back protector. I really wish I had been ! I know it would not have stopped all injury, but it would have reduced some of it.

I do not wear mine all the time - depends on the level of risk. If I figure the risk level is higher (like when I finally start riding my mmare over jumps) I'll bung it on.

I do wonder whether stats on injuries would take into account that we (well some of us anyway) are a generation that grew up before them, so they are 'unusual' to us (hence the not-relaxing thing) whereas today's kids will be perfectly relaxed in them.

I'm actually thinking about getting one of the new Mountain Horse jackets - it would be a lower level of protection than a back protector, but would be ideal for everyday use and stuff like my kick. The pads can be taken out if you want to. I had a look at one today. Not convinced yet tho'.

I also know there are figures to show (this is a car one) that if people feel safe, they tend to take more risks. e.g. adding ABS and side impact bars did increase safety - but then the drivers started driving more dangerously because they felt safe.

So its important not to take a safety feature as making you invincible !
 

Ali C

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Oct 10, 2002
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I was really pleased to see this thread as I am planning on going to my local shop tonight to check these body protectors out. I'm a novice rider and had a lesson yesterday of rather chaotic cantering when the horse stumbled twice. I stayed on quite easily (that was a shock in itself!) but it made me think about the damage I could do to myself if I fly off going round the school faster than a trot.

I know that a body protector isn't going to save me from every possible injury and that there's a chance that, if I fall, I may not fall in a relaxed manner if wearing a protector but I feel I would rather fall and break a wrist than fall and do something really nasty to my back. I think, while I'm still learning and trying to develop a good seat, it's worth considering some extra safety features!
 

Arabesque

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Jul 22, 2002
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Not a fan. I have ridden for almost a year since my return to the saddle and do not own one. They were almost unheard off when I started riding at about 12-13.
I was wearing one in most violent fall to date but I don't think it was a huge help, when I was trying to roll I felt it hindered me and as a result I was very jarred up around my shoulders. I have also resented the pressure to buy one that has been put on me by kids at the yards I visit. I have never worn one yet in any lesson at either riding school I have attended, and I am at the cantering/circling without stirrups stage.
All that said I am looking to buy one in the new year. I have seen one that looks comfortable and I am willing to give it a try. This is for 2 reasons- 1, they are compulsary for x-country lessons at the riding school and 2, I am looking to help with a youngster next year and am anticipating the odd unpredictable reaction. I am mad keen to avoid slipping into the trap of wearing one all the time. I feel that I am so much more fluent in all my movements without one.
I was interested in the MH jacket too CVB- have you seen one in the 'flesh'?
 

galadriel

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Feb 27, 2002
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Again, my Tipperary is quite comfortable and I don't feel it restricts my movement much at all. It's certainly better than my showjacket--but I hate wearing anything around my shoulders (my preference is *very* loose jackets or sweatshirts--and my body protector doesn't have sleeves). If I can ride decently well in a showjacket, the body protector isn't a hindrance at all. It almost doesn't feel like it's there.

It's this one:
http://www.phoenixperformance.com/1015.htm

Mine's silver; it's gorgeous :) My husband bought it for me when I couldn't take my eyes off it at a show earlier this year...I had one on order but I cancelled it. (grin)
 

Tina J

"Mature" rider
I looked long and hard at these when I started riding a lunatic thoroughbred. As far as I could see they wouldn't protect the area I land on most (my backside though I've never broken my tail bone Wally - ouch!). To my eyes, with the memory of "0" level physics, they can mitigate an impact (blow from a horse's hoof or landing on a protruding rock) and they can prevent you being snapped in two if you land on a cross country jump with the middle of your spine. The vast majority of happy hackers that I know have only ever broken their extremities (arms, legs and heads) which body protectors don't help with. And by fixing your body I am convinced that they will in fact increase arm and leg injuries as your limbs are then more likely to snap out, rather than you curling and rolling.

Decided against wearing one. Just have the best helmet I can buy and accept the bruises on the other bits of me. I might think again if I did cross country, but can't swear that I'd wear one even then.
 

cvb

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Oct 23, 2001
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body guard jacket

saw one today. Did not try it on tho.

It has pads along the spine, on the shoulders, one either side on the front, and looked like one either side on the "tails".

I doubt it would do for cross-country tho'.

I fell off cross-country, wearing a brack protector, into the ditch or a rail-ditch-rail combo - OK into the "coffin" !

Ended up actually lying IN the ditch, but bounced a little off the sleeper on the edge. Having a b.p. definitely reduced the impact.

Odds are that most of us will have this kind of "bad but not horrendous" accidents, and not the really nasty ones. If you still have to get up and go to work at some stage, I would rather reduce effects of this "medium" falls.
 

FinneghansMummy

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I wear my body protector sometimes when im jumping but feel happy enough hacking out without it.

i broke my coccyx too aswell as rupturing a verterbree and i was wearing a body protector at the time, dont know whether it caused more harm than good because it forced me to stay sat upright so i landed on the floor sat up. one of the doctors i saw say it helped to stop worse injuries but the specialist said as it made me quite imobile it would have made it worse.

i like having the extra security of it incase i get trampled or thrown on to a jump but the injuries they say it doesnt cover you for are ridiculous, there is hardly anything it does cover you for. i think alot of the time people wear them to give themselves more confidence eg if i fall off and im wearing a bp i wont get hurt, its rubbish. after my accident i found out that alot of people still get bad injuries when wearing body protectors so i suppose they dont actually make that much difference

wally- when you broke your coccyx could you actually sit down? am just wondering because i couldnt for about 2 years but i dislocated it aswell so it was pretty smashed up!

ani:D
 

chapsi

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Jul 15, 2002
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I can think of a good use for my body protector.
As my horse is a 1st class biter (he does an accuracy job, clean and sharp-never fails, is fast and doesn't give any warning, bless him), the body protector increase my chances against his teeth. The only thing is that I wore it once and I felt like a twat, a walking Michelin man. I have this image of my horse laughing his head off at me, as I come towards him...
 

Shiny McShine

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Jan 14, 2002
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I've been thinking about this issue all day while I've been at school. Our assistant director informed us today that a girl who goes to our school who rides and that I know ( I applied for a job as groom for her older sister) is in intensive care after a riding accident. I don't know the details, but I presume she was in an eventing competion as this is what she and her sister do. She has suspected neck and skull fractures, a dislocated shoulder, several broken ribs and a suspected fracture to her hip. It left me really sad the whole day...she's a really nice girl.

It also left me wondering about this body protector issue, obviously she was wearing one. I don't know the type of accident she had but she has come away with some bad injuries.

It also posses that reoccurring question in relation to the safety of eventing...is it rider error, lack of training of horse and/or rider, or just totally unavoidable. It has me worried. I presume she had access to professional training as her sister competes internationally and was reserve for Australia at the Olympic games.

I guess this is why I have never really wanted to event.
 
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