Body Protectors on Children?

Jan 4, 2015
I agree, why anyone wouldn't wear a hat while riding is beyond me. In fact, I had this very conversation last night with an American friend: wearing a hat is not compulsory in rodeos, nor barrel racing I believe, and it absolutely bewilders me. This is a high risk sport, and the risk of injury is huge, so why not take such a simple step? They all wear cowboy hats, so if they're wearing hats anyway, why they wouldn't wear one that could potentially save their life is beyond me.

Anyway, back to body protectors: I wear one every time I ride. I started learning without one, but decided to get one after my sister had a fall and was seriously hurt, and the doctors said without it the damage would likely have been life - limiting. I was bucked off twice a couple of weeks ago but I was able to roll and get right back up on my feet and back on the horse, so I don't find them restrictive in that sense, nor do I find riding in one restrictive, but that might be because I've ridden in one for so long.

I'm easily the oldest rider that wears one at my yard, as it's mostly kids who wear them, but I don't care!


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
Anyway, back to body protectors: I wear one every time I ride. I was bucked off twice a couple of weeks ago but I was able to roll and get right back up on my feet and back on the horse.
I am 76 years old and my pleasure is hacking in open heathland - I have fallen off on average once a year and like Kirsty, I remain unhurt. One has no control on the chain reaction if someone else's horse spooks. And frankly I think it would be dangerous at my age to ride without one. Moreover more and more professionals are wearing protective clothing in the UK - when training youngsters for instance. We want the benefits of fresh air and exercise riding horses but not to pay the price that some of our family paid in earlier generations when there was no protective clothing around.

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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I always ride in my body protector. I haven't got on a horse for the last 20 years without one. I'm the only person to wear one while competing at dressage, but I really don't care. While my horse is very safe and probably the least likely to do anything at all, accidents do happen and I have fallen off him before. Of course they won't protect against all injuries, but they do help to minimise some. I was very thankful to be wearing it when I was bucked off a horse and thrown against the side of the indoor school. Where my body protector lay I had no bruising at all, but lower down I was black and blue. I am sure I would have broken a few ribs without it.


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
I wear my BP foe hacking Ginger jumping and XC.

When I brought him back in to work I work it for flat as well and when they went through their silly turning in and out stage I wore it then as well.

I actually could not care what people say or think. If I feel safer that is what is important to me.

My new racesafe is so comfy and so much less bulky than my old one I don't even notice its on,
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Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
I'm 12 and have been riding for 5 years. I ride quite excitable horses but I have never worn a body protector. All I'd say is don't make people wear them unless you know for sure that they'll need it. I don't wear a hat when I'm just sat bareback in a stable bc I don't think I'll need it

Ah the trolls are visiting again.
You have never ridden xc then because you will get told a BP is compulsory.
In racing it's compulsory.
Mine fits well, I don't know it's there, I don't jump without it, I don't ride youngsters without it.


Toffee - Spotted Hotshot
Feb 27, 2015
North East, UK
I allow my daughters to ride in the menage without a body protector providing it's flatwork or low jumps. If the jumps start to go up (above sort of 60/70cm) then the body protector goes on and if they wants to hack out, they don't go unless they wear one. If they argue that decision, they choose, wear it or don't ride. Whilst my children are under 18 they are still children and I have a responsibility to ensure their safety so the day my daughters dictate to me what safety equipment they wear, is the day my pony turns into a unicorn.

That said it's only my 12 year old who does anything remotely fast or risky, my 8 year old is too dinky and little and barely rides our pony at the minute.


Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2010
Skib, you are 76?! This is a typo yes? Wow, kudos to you and what an inspiration. I recently had a bit of a meltdown about nearly being 40 and feeling like I was getting older and other people (family) making comments about slowing down with the horses now. If I am still merrily hacking about in even 20 years I will be made up :D

I am the mother of a small child though with no other support if something should happen to me. I have also suffered with loss of confidence after a nasty fall. I WAS wearing my BP when i fell but it was too short in the back and it actually injured me where I landed on it and hyperflexed my spine. I now have an airjacket, in fact I have 2 ! I never even sit on my horse without it. I only wear the bp as well if going xc and I have a new one that fits properly now.

My little boy is 3 and he rides his shetland on lead rein. Of course he always wears a hat and also when he just handling her, leading, grooming etc. I wouldnt get him a BP until he was off the lead rein and physically a bit bigger, Id worry about a correct fit just now.. no way he would be getting on his pony without one on off the leadrein though. Same as just now when he rides his bike, no hat - no bike. It will be no hat & bp - no pony.
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Apr 2, 2021
When Beth is big enough for one she will wear one or not ride, at the moment she is too small (she is only 2 1/2 and always has a second person walking beside her anyway) but she knows the hat rule - no hat = no riding and I intend to do the same about the BP once she is old enough and riding slightly more independently.

Does her BP fit her well? Is it worth trying different makes to see whether she is more comfortable in something else as I know they vary a lot.
I really feel there needs to be a balance here. I had never heard of body protectors until recently. I have been riding all my life. I think the answer is to ensure your child is taught responsibly and doesn't fall off!!!
You child is just as likely to fall off the jungle gym or even trip on the kerb and fall. Are you going to put a body protector on them to go to school incase a bulky punches them?
I watch children doing Vaulting on massive horses and they don't even wear helmets. (This does freak me out!)
But my question is: where do we draw the line?
Wearing a body protector when the temperature is 33 to 36° c will probably do more harm than the very occasional fall that can easily be prevented by proper management and decently schooled ponies.
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