Body protector suggestions please.

oldie48

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I'm thinking of getting a body protector to wear when hacking. I'm quite big busted, can't bear to be too hot and would like something really comfortable but effective. Back in the day I used to wear the old fashioned hard BP but had a fall cross country resulting in a number of broken ribs and a couple of stable fractures of the spine, I sort of lost faith in it, stopped wearing it and stopped jumping! What's everyone wearing these days?
 

ycbm

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I never ride without my air jacket. Best thing ever. Light, airy, unrestrictive, don't sweat in it. What's not to like :)
 

Skib

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I have worn a bp for hacking ever since I started to hack 18 years ago.
This is what I have learned.
You need to try the different brands and find the one that fits you best.
My first one was a Champion which laced up the sides (as a Race safe does). bps that lace up the sides cannot be tightened at the bust line without also tightening at the lower edge near one's waist.
My subsequent ones have all been aerowear. They fix at waist and bust with two separate velcro tabs. They also zip up the front.

The early unisex ones fitted me better than the ones now tailored to female body shape. So mine does not fit perfectly. If I put on a bit of weight I cant close it quite to the line - but as I am hacking, the fit is my own discretion.
I know from being fitted (or not fitted) with a Race safe at Olympia that Race safe wont fit round my rather narrow shoulders. Race safe are massively popular and my OH wore one. But he is very thin and his spine got bruised in a fall in the sand school - may be a vertebra went through a gap in the panel which would not have happened with an airowear.

Fit at the shoulder is important as otherwise in a fall the bp may ride up and injure one's neck. They need to be tight.

About heat - I have always worn a bp to hack or trail ride. I have worn it in mid day summer heat in Texas. I accept the heat and dont notice it.
I chose not to get an airjacket (my OH did) because I like to get back on the horse if I fall off. I now share on a yard where they wont allow air jackets. I know one trains horses to accept them inflating but the yard has its own ways of doing things and I dont feel strongly enough to battle.

About cold. A cold bp is rigid. Unless it is high summer, I put mine on before driving to the yard.

bps are effective protection when falling onto uneven or hard ground. I fell off regularly while learning to ride, and since then once every couple of years hacking. I have never been hurt - though canter onto tarmac isnt nice. My back was protected, but the bruising was bad where I was not protected, belwo the bp and there was a mark where the lower edge of the bp was. My daughter who climbs compared this to the marks climbers get where the safety ropes catch them in a fall. Hats and bps impact on one's body in a fall but are hopefully saving one from worse.

Oddly enough I have never fallen off (touch wood) while hacking solo.

People who have ridden all their lives hate bps, but I have never known anything else. May be it is like a horse just getting used to its tack. I dont notice it. However, mine does impede me turning round in the saddle to speak to the rider behind me. But that could be my own age and infirmity, rather than the bp. If I was hacking on roads, I would buy a little mirror but I dont go on roads and my current share mare is a lead mare. If I allow her the freedom to look about her, she has her eye on everything. She will hesitate or pause.

But my old share was nappy - so it was up to me, and to be honest the bp did restrict my rear view. But obviously the safety benfits outweighed that.
 

OrangeAndLemon

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I got fitted for an Airowear one and bought it but I never felt comfortable riding in it. I sold it second hand and bought a Rodney Powell second hand.

The airowear was cooler to wear and I found it easier to put on and adjust. The Rodney Powell is thick, warmer, more difficult to zip up and I have to take it off to adjust, but I don't notice it when I'm riding (unless turning to look behind).

When my lottery win eventually happens, I'll get a racesafe.
 

AFB

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I have a Racesafe which I only wear XC - I forget I have it on after a couple of minutes.

That being said I'm not busty!! so not sure on the shape, and they do need to be fitted well. I had mine fitted by Treehouse at a show and they save the measurements to order at a later date. A friend on the yard bought hers from the local tack shop and it looks a good 2 sizes too big for her.
 

HeyMich

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I'd suggest you go to a local tack shop and try some on with a qualified fitter. Mine now fits like a glove and all the ones I had used before were so uncomfortable, I couldn't have imagined wearing them for a whole hack. I can now wear this one (an Airowear) for hours!
 

HorsesRule2009

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I love my race safe, but also like the champion flex air.
The best thing to do is try them on.

Unfortunately I find the big shows/events (badminton/burghley HOYs etc) best for this as loads of different brands and qualified fitters and can see which you feel most comfortable in.
 

Ownedby4horses

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Denmark
I would second going to a tack shop and being fitted for one. I went with a recommendation as to the one to get and tried it on and it was terribly uncomfortable and squashed my boobs like crazy. I ended up with a racesafe and it was very comfy and as someone else has said i could adjust the sides so it gave my boobs more room.

Make sure if you are trying on, they have a saddle that you can sit on, a lot of the BPs are available in different lengths and you need to make sure its not at a longer length where it will catch on your saddle.
 

2ndtimearound

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21 May 2013
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If you find an Airowear does fit you, I can recommend the Airmesh ones (you can now get them with either Velcro tabs or elastic at the sides, depending on what works for you). They are definitely much cooler, though they are obviously still warmer than not wearing one. I bought one when they first came out almost three years ago, and it is a definite improvement on the non-mesh version.
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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The yard, home or coal face.....
I'm thinking of getting a body protector to wear when hacking. I'm quite big busted, can't bear to be too hot and would like something really comfortable but effective. Back in the day I used to wear the old fashioned hard BP but had a fall cross country resulting in a number of broken ribs and a couple of stable fractures of the spine, I sort of lost faith in it, stopped wearing it and stopped jumping! What's everyone wearing these days?
I started with an Airowear, it was warm in the summer and didnt 'give' well.

4 years ago upgraded to Racesafe after trying on at Royal Windsor, wouldnt wear another now. Like you, I'm quite big busted and I'm still comfortable in mine, it was fitted to me by the Racesafe chap who was advising on a trade stand, so I hit really lucky, inc sitting on saddle to double check.
I don't get on without mine now (used to wear just for jumping) and dont notice it.

Our RC insists on a correctly fitted BP for jumping. Air jackets or vests can go over but not allowed to just have an air vest on it's own for jumping.
 
Joined
30 April 2020
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I've worn back protectors for years, Racesafe, decided a few years ago to change to Hit Air which I loved until my horse tripped in walk I came out the front door and landed next to her on the floor, luckily she didn't panic and I was able to unclip myself but I couldn't help thinking what would have happened if it had gone off right by her head and she'd panicked. Have gone back to Racesafe now.
 

Roxylola

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15 March 2016
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1,753
Big boobs on a tiny frame - race safe, I have to squish the girls in a bit to give me the feeling of it being secure round my ribs, but with it being a zip up one theres no messing with velcro etc and it fits the same every time. I had mine fitted at Olympia and would definitely recommend getting one fitted, I knew my size (well I'm in between) but the messing about - sit on the saddle off the saddle etc really cemented it for me
 
Joined
10 June 2020
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I got fitted for one at a nearby tack shop. I tried about 10 on and it was a toss up between airowear and racesafe. I got the racesafe because it felt a snugger fit and less bulky. After wearing it a handful of times it got so comfortable and I forget I am wearing it. I feel safer in it and wear it every time I ride now, even a short hack round the houses. You really need to get fitted for one at a reputable store and sit on a saddle in it to check the length isn't too long. If it fits incorrectly you will never wear it.
 
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