Body protector or back protector – what’s the difference?
If you’ve been searching high and low for new gear to help you stay safe in the saddle, you might come across both body protectors and back protectors – as well as air jackets, of course. Lots of riders have stories of how their body or back protector helped to prevent more serious injury in the event of a fall, or meant they walked away totally unharmed. But what sets one apart from the other? If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a body protector and a back protector is, and which one is right for your current circumstances, here’s a quick explanation of the key differences:
A body protector is the better choice from the two for all-round protection of the back and ribs, and many riders choose to wear a body protector for breaking in young horses, galloping and jumping. They are normally crafted from lightweight but dense foam that absorbs some of the impact and energy in the event of a fall or kick. They may be constructed from one solid panel of foam or multiple small panels stitched together, with the latter offering more freedom of movement in the saddle. Our Ti22 is a unisex, flexible segmented-style body protector that meets the high EN 13158: 2018 BETA level 3 2018 standards. It boasts tough zips, military grade outer mesh, ultra-lightweight foam and cool feel titanium coloured inner lining.
You can also buy shoulder pads to attach to our Ti22 body protector that are designed to extend the protection to the collarbone, a very common area for injury when falling from a horse! Some equestrian governing bodies require a body protector that meets the latest BETA standards as mandatory for competing in disciplines, such as cross-country and team chasing. There are some riders who dislike wearing a body protector as they feel they are uncomfortable and restrict their ability to move freely in the saddle. In these cases, they may prefer to try a back protector to see if they like that better.
Back protectors are designed to reduce the forces and impact on your back in the event of a fall or if you’re kicked working a horse from the ground. The technology is based on the back protectors worn by motorcyclists that are designed to reduce forces on their spine if they are in an accident. Back protectors don’t provide the all-round protection to the ribs and chest as a body protector, but are usually lighter and easier to move in. That means they can be ideal for activities when a rider might choose not to wear a full body protector. That might be when they are out hacking, doing light work with their horse in the school or even showjumping. Back protectors are made from one or several large, shaped foam designed to absorb impact. They often feature a sleeker profile that can be worn under a jacket, as there are no foam panels on the front – just the rear.
Our Sculpt back protector is manufactured here in the UK to EN1621-2-2014 motorcycle standard and is designed to protect the back in the event of a fall. The foam protection used in the Sculpt is removable so that the rest of the garment can be washed and kept fresh.
We hope this information helps you make an informed decision when it comes to back and body protection, and which suits you best. If you would like to take a closer look at our Ti22 body protector and the Sculpt back protector, use our ‘find a stockist’ page to learn more and find out where your nearest retailer is.