Safety in the saddle is paramount, and that's why today we're focusing on a critical component in rider safety: the body protector. Here at Track Right Equestrian, our firm stance is on BETA Level 3 body protectors, the gold standard for rider safety.
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The Importance of BETA Level 3 Protection
Level 3 body protectors adhere to the highest safety standards set by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA). While other levels are available, they're typically specialised for professional contexts, such as racing. Our commitment is to your safety for everyday riding, which is why we recommend and sell only BETA Level 3 body protectors.
Ensuring the Correct Fit
Securing the correct fit is crucial, not only for comfort but for the effectiveness of the protector. Here are the essential fitting checkpoints:
1. The Rib Coverage Check
The body protector must extend to cover your bottom rib at the front. This coverage is essential as it's the barrier between any impact and your vital organs. A body protector that meets this requirement without excessive overlap is what you're aiming for.
2. The Chest Fit
Body protectors come with adjustability for a reason — to ensure a snug fit around your chest. It should be close-fitting to minimise movement but not so tight that you can't breathe fully. The balance here is a snug fit that allows a full breath, ensuring comfort as well as protection.
3. The Saddle Clearance
When seated, a proper fit means having approximately a four-finger gap (around 7 centimetres) between the bottom of the body protector and the saddle. An overly long protector can be hazardous; it risks impacting the saddle during movement and can be jolted upwards in a fall, potentially causing injury to the cervical spine. Correct clearance is key — you want enough to protect but not so much as to interfere with your riding or safety.
Selecting and fitting a body protector with precision is a vital step for any rider. By adhering to these guidelines, you ensure a fit that offers maximum protection without impeding your riding experience. Remember, it's about achieving the right fit — secure, comfortable, and unrestrictive, allowing you to focus on the fun bit - riding your horse!