WITH improved safety for all riders and competitors being one of the key priorities for BETA new moves have been made to try and help cut down on the number of riding injuries.
From September the BETA 1995 Standard will officially cease to be a valid standard for the manufacture of body protectors.
The standard was replaced in March last year by the BETA 2000 Standard and manufacturers were given until the end of August this year to continue making body protectors to the older standard.
BETA Chief Executive and Secretary Claire Williams said: Although after August garments can no longer be manufactured to the 1995 standard, body protectors made before the September cut-off point can be sold as long as stocks last.
The body protectors will also be accepted by riding organisations specifying that a BETA standardised body protector be worn in competition.
However we do recommend against the use of body protectors manufactured to the standard prior to 1995.
These body protectors, bearing either a Level 5 (blue) or Level 7 (red) label, are still seen in use, and BETA recommend they be replaced with a more recent standard.
It is important that BETA highlights the danger of riding in not only an obsolete standard, but also a potentially less than effective body protector.
Over the last 12 months, the majority of body protector manufacturers have adopted the new standard.
The BETA 2000 Standard is identical to EN 13158 but unlike the European Standard, all garments bearing the BETA standard logo must be re-tested annually to ensure that the quality of the foam and the quality of the body protector itself remain constant.
Like the previous standard the BETA 2000 features three levels of protection.
Level 1 Black Label used predominantly by jockeys, it offers the lowest amount of protection.
Level 2 Brown Label offers a lower than normal level of protection and is considered really only appropriate in low risk riding situations.
Level 3 Purple Label the highest level of protection, the body protector is appropriate for normal riding, competition and for working with horses.
Fitting A Body Protector
1 As with any protective garment, correct fitting is crucial in ensuring that it fulfills its intended purpose.
1 The BETA 2000 standard incorporates coloured safety markers applied to fastenings to indicate when a garment is not fitted correctly, ensuring that riders cant over-adjust the body protector.
2 BETA run a series of safety courses for retailers to learn more about fitting both riding hats and body protectors.
When looking to buy a new body protector riders and competitors should visit a BETA member retailer to get the most up to date advice.
For further information on body protectors please contact BETA on (01937) 587062.