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Equestrian body reaffirms faith in safety of body protectors
Mar '09
Safety levels of body protectors are unaffected by a revision to the European safety standard, the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) has confirmed.

Garments meeting the current standard EN13158/BETA2000 are not about to go out-of-date and will continue to meet the competitive disciplines' requirements when the revision, known as BETA2009, is implemented at the end of March.

“This is not a new body protector standard, but a revision to the existing one,” said Claire Williams, executive director of BETA, the body that developed and administers the BETA body protector standard.

The revision to the standard has been drawn up by the European Standards Committee (CEN) of which BETA is a member. “Riders need have no concerns about buying a body protector that will shortly be defunct. Garments made to the revised standard will be gradually phased in as older ones are replaced over time. When it is eventually decided to withdraw the BETA 2000 standard, plenty of notice will be given to riders, retailers and riding organisations.”

Body protectors meeting the BETA standard Levels 1, 2 and 3 will retain exactly the same safety characteristics since the revision to the standard does not affect garments' impact absorption capabilities or area of coverage.

The revised standard largely encompasses design adjustments such as zip covers and a restriction on removable tail pieces. The positioning of closures at the shoulders is also slightly amended. “Riders will hardly notice any difference,” said Claire. “In fact, many features of the revised standard are already being applied by manufacturers.”

BETA has also developed a new body protector standard for carriage drivers. Garments meeting it will be denoted by a triangular purple label bearing a carriage wheel logo, to differentiate it from the horse riding garment.

Similar to the well-established BETA Level 3 body protectors that offer the highest levels of protection and are suitable for general riding and working with horses, the carriage driving standard makes provision for a shorter back length for wearers who are sitting down.

BETA trains retailers to fit body protectors and give advice on choosing and using them. Riders who shop with BETA trained retailers can, therefore, take advantage of personalised fittings which are usually free of charge.

British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA)

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