Should You Wear A Body Protector?
As with most types of safety equipment, the debate rages over the efficacy of the horse riding body protector. Those of a certain age will recall the arguments surrounding car seat belts. When the belts were made compulsory, some drivers claimed that they could do more harm than good! The protests have all but disappeared when it comes to seat belts but there are still people who refuse to wear them. As with motorcycle helmets, this resistance probably has more to do with concerns over comfort than safety. The same could be true of those who do not wear body protectors when they ride.
Horse Riding Body Protector
A horse riding body protector, is not a get out of jail free card
and cannot completely protect you from serious injury. But this safety vest could reduce the seriousness of any injury and will certainly protect you from bumps and bruises. It could also prove to be the difference between a minor knock and a life changing event.
Those who dislike wearing a body protector often argue that it restricts their movement and so they are less in control. Many riders also feel that the safety vests are uncomfortable and ruin the look of their outfits. Aesthetics can be important but your spine is probably more of a priority!
How do the Body Protectors Work?
There several types of horse riding body protector that you could consider wearing. Some are air vests which inflate on impact, rather like the air bag in your car. They do require gas canisters which must be recharged after an incident. The inflation times are now lightning-quick. Other vests are foam filled styles which do not require inflation. The latest styles are designed to be comfortable and to complement the body’s contours. They mould to the body and afford excellent freedom of movement.
The body protectors are designed to absorb impacts, to distribute the forces of those impacts and to support the spine. However, it should be noted that they will not protect riders from most cervical spine injuries as these tend to be caused by trauma to the neck. Neither will the protectors prevent many pelvic injuries which are usually the result of forces passed up through the legs.
Not Perfect but Would You Ride Without One?
So horse riding body protectors are far from perfect and they can be a little bulky but why risk injury? These safety vests can and do prevent many injuries. Accidents happen and even the most accomplished equestrians can meet with disaster. The wearing of a body protector is not indicative of a lack of confidence or skill. It is merely a sensible precaution when the unexpected could happen at any time. Life is unpredictable and so are horses. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
You probably wouldn’t consider riding without a riding hat to protect your head so why ride without protecting your body? The next time you fall, you just might wish that you had invested in a safety vest.