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Spring jumping league at Gransha

KAN body protectors are delighted to be sponsoring Gransha Equestrian’s jumping league this April.

Run over three weeks, KAN body protectors will be providing prizes in all classes.

Wendy Smyth, the designer of the KAN body protector said,

“It is great to be working with the team at Gransha.  Their jumping league competitions are always very popular and KAN body protectors are pleased to be associated with them.

“Riders are becoming much more aware of the need to stay safe when they are riding through wearing a body protector and the KAN team will be on hand to demonstrate the motorcycle technology that underpins the safety features of the KAN body protectors”.

Six facts you need to know

Whether you are considering investing in a body protector to wear riding in competitions, jumping league or for pleasure, (or even if you believe that it is not necessary for you to wear one at all), then you need to read this fact sheet so that you can make an informed decision.  You might be surprised by some of the following six facts about equestrian accidents and protection.

Fact 1 – it’s long way down

If the average horse is 14 hands high then most riders are sitting at over 1.4 metres (4’8”) above the ground.  That is a long way to fall, even when the horse is stationary.  Obstacles (walls, fences, tree stumps, etc) can make the effects of a minor tumble much more serious.

Once on the ground there is the added danger of being kicked or trampled – an average horse weighs 1000-1200 lbs, (455 – 545 kg), so the risk to the rider is significant.

Fact 2 – equestrian accidents are frequent

Amazingly, there are no official records for the total number of equestrian accidents in the UK, but it is reported that after road accidents, paramedics attend more equestrian-related incidents than any other type.  According to the Midlands air ambulance (BBC Inside Out, October 2007) they are attending three horse riding incidents a week.

An academic study In the United States estimated that one in 600 riders will visit the emergency room every year (“Traumatic injuries associated with horseback riding” 2007).  With more than two million people regularly riding in the UK, a similar rate would equate to 3,333 riders requiring hospital treatment annually – nine emergency admissions every day of the year!

Fact 3 – a helmet is not enough

While wearing a riding hat is widely accepted, and a legal requirement for children aged 14 years or younger, a Canadian study conducted over half of trauma center patients injured while riding suffered chest injuries, not head injuries as you might expect. (“Equestrian injuries: incidence, injury patterns, and risk factors for 10 years of major traumatic injuries” 2007).

Fact 4 – roads are not the only danger zone

According to the British Horse Society, every day there are approximately eight accidents on the road involving horses, which is an alarming statistic.  However, riders should avoid being lulled into a false sense of security by assuming that they will be safer riding on bridleways or in paddocks.

Police statistics from the Midlands show that officers rarely attend incidents involving horses on the roads.

Fact 5 – Body protectors are not uncomfortable

Back in the 1980’s opponents of the proposed seatbelt law argued that these safety devices would be restrictive and uncomfortable.  The statistics show that since their introduction deaths and serious injuries among drivers and passengers have been massively reduced.

The same arguments are often heard from riders who, quite naturally, are cautious about spending money on additional riding kit.  Properly designed and developed modern protectors are neither uncomfortable nor restrictive, but it is important to find the correct size and to allow time to become accustomed to the sensation of wearing one, as International event rider Nicola Wilson explains; “Although heavy to hold, I am amazed at how comfortable and unrestricting this body protector is. I actually enjoy wearing this important part of our cross country kit. ”

Fact 6 – Choose a body protector that meets BETA level 3

Body protectors must meet the relevant European CE standard (EN 13158:2000 & EN 13158:2009) for body protectors for equestrian use. To pass the standard protectors must be independently tested by a European-approved laboratory, using impact performance test methods to simulate impact due to falls and kicks from horses.

Most protectors sold in the UK also carry BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) accreditation. Protectors meeting BETA Level 3 should provide a level of protection that is considered appropriate for normal horse riding, competitions and for working with horses.

By law, only products meeting the CE standard should be advertised or sold as ‘protective’, so consumers should be wary of uncertified ‘safety’ products.

The last word

Helicopter paramedic Ian Roberts says that while many people do wear the correct safety gear, such as riding hats and body protectors, others do not.

“Generally speaking the standard could be a lot higher,” Ian said.  “If they were to see what we see on a regular basis, I think they would certainly change their ways.”

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