5 Best Horse Riding Body Protectors that Can Save Your Life

Horse riding is a fun activity, but it comes with its reservations. It is not one of the safest sports and that is where equestrian protective gear comes into play.

The best kind of insurance of safety you can depend on while horse riding are the horse riding body protectors. They can save you from broken bones or worse as horse riding is a dangerous sport. No matter how professional or experienced you are, it is essential to prepare yourself for the worst.

To save you the trouble, we have prepared you a list of the 5 best horse riding body protectors so you don’t face a serious injury while doing something you love.

Best Horse Riding Body Protectors

Before you check out the list, we would like to mention our top picks here:

The Hit-Air LV Equestrian Light Weight Airbag Vest is the best out of this list because of its unique airbag mechanism but if you are looking for a horse riding safety vest that has a reasonable price along with all the protective features, the Jili Online Adults Equestrian Protective Vest Horse Riding Vest Body Protector is a great choice.

1. Tough-1 Bodyguard Protective Vest

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This horse riding safety vest, as its name suggests, is very tough which makes it great for guarding your body against externalities. It is made from a hundred percent polyester fabric, a nylon fabric lining and has a textured surface for added durability. It provides a uniformly distributed body protection so it doesn’t put weight on one specific area.

Both the shoulders on this vest and its sides are adjustable to give a better grip and closure. If something hits you while you’re wearing it, you feel very little force.

Pros

The material used in the padding is urethane foam which absorbs shock and high impact as well. The design ensures optimum safety and offers extra torso protection. The front is zippered for a custom fit with a solid strip on the back for extra spin support. The vest also has a pocket to keep the mouth guard in and tabs on the back.

Cons

It’s a little difficult to put on because of its stiffness. Its bulkiness doesn’t allow you to move as freely as you’d want but that is only because of how protective it is. You also might have to get the perfect size sewn into the Velcro straps because they may rip off.

2. UNISTRENGH Equestrian Vest Body Protector

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The UNISTRENGH Equestrian Vest Professional Safety EVA Padded Horse Riding Vest is polyester-made. It’s a professional horse riding body protector for all adults and children. It is very breathable and comfortable to wear, as well. This is a great benefit as most equestrian protective gear are stiff and uncomfortable.

This vest saves you from the impact from a fall or kick by absorbing it. It also reduces high levels of shock. It has a zipped front for a good fit and the laced sides are adjustable so you get the right size. Its padding also extends to the back so it protects your tail bone.

Pros

The scalloped front on this vest allows for a free movement. It provides great coverage for the neck, spine, and ribs. If you ever have a bad fall, it will absorb ninety percent of the shock and cushion the fall so you don’t get hurt. It is also easy to clean off with slight brushing.

 Cons

The sizes for this vest don’t always fit you perfectly so you might have to find the right one by trial and error.

3. Saddle Barn Tack Vest for Mutton Busting

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This is the ideal vest for mutton busters. It adequately provides the extra protection that a child needs during rodeo sports. Children are more sensitive to injuries and have a lower pain tolerance. They require body protectors more than anybody and the Saddle Barn Tack Vest is the ideal one.

The size is great and it has large Velcro sections. These sections allow for the adjustment of size. The material is made from 600 denier cordura outer shell or faux leather outer shell. It is made with high-density foam to cushion falls and protects the bones from injury. It’s perfect for riding calves and sheep as you get the exact product you expect.  

Pros

It has foam padding in the front and a similar one on the back. You can adjust the sides as well as the shoulder topsca for just the right fit and size and additionally, there is room to grow as children’s bodies change rapidly but it is perfect for anyone under 50 lbs. It has attractive logos and patches like the American flag that beautify it. This is a great quality vest which makes it very durable.

Cons

It does not have added protection to help with posture. 

4. Jili Online Adults Equestrian Protective Horse Riding Vest

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The Jili Online Adults Equestrian Protective Horse Riding Vest is an ergonomically body protector that is designed to provide safety from injury while horse riding. Horse riding vests are generally not very comfortable but this polyester vest gives you a quite breathable feeling and is comfortable to wear.

When you have a bad fall, the body part most susceptible to serious injury is your back. To protect the spine, this vest has padding on the backside. It fits you well without compromising on its ability to reduce the impact of an accident and to absorb high levels of shock.

Pros

Its sides have adjustable laces to make it fit you easily and comfortably without restricting any movement. These laces also let you wear thick layers underneath the protector. To add to this purpose, it has a scalloped lower front. It protects you on rocky trails and with the addition of a helmet, that is all you need. There is a zipper and the front that is very strong and you can smoothly operate it.

Cons:

The sizes on these horse riding safety vests are something you may have to experiment with.

5. Hit-Air LV Equestrian Airbag Vest (Black)

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Hit-Air LV Equestrian Airbag Vest is a light weight and one of a kind. And employs a very unique mechanism that makes it one of the best choices for equestrian protective gear.

It is essentially an airbag vest meaning this LV model is really cosy. It is extremely lightweight, only 1.9 pounds, and easy on your shoulders. The system that it uses is a high-speed one.

Its key ball mechanism activates the carbon dioxide cartridge and the airbag deploys on impact. It makes little sound when this happens so it doesn’t spook your horse. It also fits comfortably over thick clothing like coats. No doubt that this vest allows you to be more relaxed than ever while riding.

Pros

The waist strap on this horse riding body protector is adjustable from small to even extra-large. It uses 48cc cartridges which are fairly easy to replace and are quite affordable. It also comes with a saddle tether and lanyard to attach directly.

Cons

It does not have a zipper for better fitting. The product only comes with one CO2 cartridge and you will have to purchase them after each deployment.

Why Having a Horse Riding Body Protector Is Important

Falling off a horse or getting kicked or trodden over by it can result in broken ribs and other bones or serious head injuries and wearing safety equipment like vests or helmets minimizes the intensity of the impact.

Horse riding is a challenging activity and if you do not prepare yourself for the worst outcomes, you are exposing yourself to accidents. You should never allow yourself to be vulnerable to harmful situations especially when you have the purpose-built gear to help you avoid that.

Body protectors these days are ergonomically designed to fit you, provide optimum comfort, and absorb as much impact as possible. These body protectors come with advanced materials that enhance their utility. Professionals create them to provide you maximum convenience.

An analysis illustrated a statistically substantial decrease in horse riding injuries when body protection was worn. Moreover, we also observed a trend towards less severe injuries because when an incident like this occurs, the vest absorbs and spreads the forces involved to distribute their effect and they don’t affect one area greatly.

The severity of an injury is never associated with the rider’s experience or the relationship they have with their horse. Even if you’re not doing high-risk riding, you still need a body protector, although the levels of protection can vary depending on these factors.

Levels of Protection in Horse Riding

There are essentially three levels of body protection:

Level 1

A body protector having the protection of level 1 will be suitable for licensed jockeys only because it is the lowest level. Licensed jockeys are extremely professional and know their way around the race. They are familiar with their horse’s behaviors and are more experienced in this skill.

Level 2

Level 2 safety vests provide medium-level protection. It is quite dependable when it comes to recreational riding. We also recommend it for riding in clubs as it is not high-risk. So, you won’t require too many extra measures nor is it too risk-free of an activity that you wouldn’t need any at all.

Level 3

This is the best and highest level of protection in horse riding body vests. Competitive and intense sports and events use these. They prevent both minor bruises and rib fractures that would cause serious harm otherwise. 

Standards for Horse Riding Body Protectors

Body protector safety is controlled by certain standards that each product must reach in order to be certified to use. BETA is a certification organization that manages the standards that ensure that the products meet all the necessary safety requirements for riders.

The design is created to be efficient and uses the latest technology to create body protectors that take up the shape of the rider’s body and efficiently protect the ribs and vital organs in case of a fall.

The EN 13158:2009 controls the covered area of the body, tests the performance on impact, and measures the attachment’s security to the body. Under the BETA:2009 standard, products are annually re-tested for consistency in the material’s quality and manufacturing procedures. It sets the shock-absorption criteria and encompasses the three levels of protection in horse riding mentioned earlier. Furthermore, the ASTM F2681 standard specifies the minimum performance criteria and body protector test methods specific to horse riding.

FAQs Related to Horse Riding Body Protectors

If you want to know more, read on.

How often should you replace a body protector?

You should replace your body protector every three to five years considering that the foam may lose its shock absorption quality over time. When you have a heavy fall from your horse, it may rip or create dents in your protector. Check for these dents and expect the foam to expand to its actual shape within thirty minutes of an impact. If this does not happen, then it’s preferable to buy a new protector.

How do you choose a body protector?

The three most important factors that you should take into consideration while choosing a body protector or any equestrian protective gear are the type of riding, quality, and fitting. The aesthetics and style can also contribute to your decision if you have a specific taste or color that you like. You may prefer a soft and light one to make you feel like you’re not wearing a lot of extra clothing. Or you might go for a heavy and stiff one that makes you feel like you’re wearing a bulletproof vest so it makes you feel extra protected.

Body protector vs. air vest: What’s the difference?

The key difference between air vests and body protectors is that the air vests cannot absorb shock. This is why BETA, the FEI and BE recommend wearing it with a body protector.

When you fall from your horse, some energy from the gravity has to go into the ground but the rest energy goes into the rider’s body, according to Newton’s third law of motion. Therefore, body protectors are shock-absorbing to protect the body. They are capable of absorbing and spreading the impact. Air vests, however, are designed to provide protection by slowing down the impact.

How can I be sure my body protector fits right?

First, take the measurement of the largest part of your chest. Then measure your spine while sitting in a chair from your neck to the tip of the spine. Then do the same with your waist in the front, over your shoulder, to the waist in the back. You should record the measurements accurately and always double-check. Compare them with the size chart and if the sizes confuse you, always choose the smaller one for a more snug fit.

What body protectors do jockeys wear?

The acceptable standard for body protectors for jockeys was increased from Level 1 to Level 2. They can face many serious injuries like concussions, broken bones, spinal injuries, and dislocated shoulders. This offers the superior protection that they need to keep excelling in their profession.

Jockeys should use products that prevent injuries, provide increased comfort and mobility, and are aesthetically pleasing.

Is it allowed to wear a body protector for dressage?

Of course, you can wear a body protector for dressage if you have a sensitive body or condition. If you are nervous or your horse’s behavior is unpredictable, then a body protector is also understandable. Dressage doesn’t have any jumps in it but that doesn’t make it totally risk-free as the horse may get spooked.

If you wear one over a jacket, it might restrict you or raise your center of gravity, affecting the horse’s movement. A dressage test is essentially all about performance and aesthetics.

How should I care for my horse riding protective vest?

You should keep your vest flat when you’re not using it and keep it away from high heat. This exposure can compromise its shock-absorbing properties. You can clean it by rinsing with cold water and air drying. Do not wash it in a washing machine or dryer. 

Conclusion

An airbag vest or body protector, it all comes down to your comfort and contentment while you’re riding. The better the product, the more relaxed you will be mentally and perform better. You should be able to like what you’re doing without worrying about accidents. But being prepared and having something you can depend on to protect you. Body protectors for horse riding are an important and great investment if you want to continue with your equestrian endeavors. 

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