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When Is It Time to Replace Your Body Protector?

Our friends at RaceSafe recently shared some great information about how long your body protector lasts and when to replace it.
While a well-cared for equestrian body protector does have an expected lifetime of 3-5 years, after a period of time the effectiveness of your body protector and the level of protection it offers will start to reduce.
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5 signs you need to replace your current body protector:
  1. It doesn’t have a BETA 2009 or 2018 (Level 3) safety certificate. The latest BETA certificate is 2018. If you have a body protector that has a certificate older than BETA 2009, then it is older than 11 years old and is almost definitely not providing the intended level of protection.
  2. You’ve had your current body protector for more than 3-5 years. There are many reasons why a body protector older than 3-5 years is likely to need replacing, but the main reason is that high performance foam can gradually degrade, affecting impact performance. Body protector manufacturers are constantly innovating and improving, so not having a newer model may mean you are missing out on newer features.
  3. It doesn’t fit you properly. If any of the below are true for you, then your protector does not fit properly and its protection is compromised: It doesn’t cover your ribs. It doesn’t allow you to move freely in the saddle, without the back length interfering. It is loose or moves when you’re riding. It is tight or restrictive when riding.
  4. There are visible signs of wear and tear. Riding is an outdoor sport and over time a certain level of wear is to be expected. Any of the following signs of wear could leave you with a below standard level of protection. Stitching breaking or fraying. A broken zip, or one that won’t stay zipped. Broken elastic fastenings. Cuts or abrasions to the surface.
  5. You have fallen off several times while wearing it. Heavy or repeated falls can cause the impact absorption properties within the body protector to deteriorate. Check for dents after a fall; the foam should return to its original shape around 30 minutes. If the foam does not expand back or permanently hardens, it's time to replace your body protector.

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