The one standard that all horse riding body protectors must adhere to is the class system devised by the British Equestrian Trade Association, or BETA.
The tests demonstrate the body protector’s ability to protect from weights.
Previous Classifications and Safety Standards for Protective Vests
Classifications from BETA change with time to meet European safety standards, now classes as EN13158:2000.
Previous body protectors came in the following classes, but should be replaced with the new classified standards.
Beta Class 1 : (Usually Green)- Suited for low risk riding
Beta Class 2 (Orange) – Suitable for normal risk riding Beta Class 3 ( Purple) – Suitable for high risk riding/riders.
Previous classes have included Red and Blue labels- these should also be replaced.
New Classifications and Safety Standards for Protective Vests
Beta Class 1: Black Label – Low Protection levels- Suitable for jockeys.
Beta Class 2: Brown Label- Suitable for low risk situations, not suitable for road riding or jumping.
Beta Class 3: Purple Label: Suitable for normal riding, events, competitions, road riding.
The padding in each protective vest varies from brand to brand. EVA foam or Ethylene vinyl acetate is commonly used in the creation of a horse riding body protector, or a heat sensitive PVC Nitrile.
EVA is a mix of the materials ethylene and Vinyl acetate that is commonly known as a soft rubber or padded rubber. EVA is fantastic at absorbing shock from a fall, whilst Nitrile moulds with heat to fit to the shape of your body for comfort.
EVA also retains memory and makes sure that you have a great flexible and cushioned landing. If your body protector does take a knock, it will need replacing as it won’t be effective in your next fall.
Remember to replace your horse riding protection vest after a knock of a fall.
The foam will expand back to shape in 30 minutes time after a collision, but any dents that remains are a sign that the foam has lost it’s absorption, and therefore, safe qualities so should be replaced.
Without knocks or dents, your horse riding protection vest should be replaced every 5 years, unless a safety classification change requires a replacement before this time.