How To Check If Your Body Protector Fits Correctly

If you haven’t worn your body protector for a little while, if it feels uncomfy or loose, or you think your child might have grown; you will need to check that your body protector still fits correctly before getting into the saddle.

Whatever style or make your body protector is, these fitting principles remain the same:

Chest and waist fitting
Most models of body protector have some form of side adjustment, this can be lace up, elasticated, or Velcro tabs. Within the range of this side adjustment your body protector should fit comfortably and snugly over a light layer of clothing.

Body length fitting
Your ribs need to be protected in the event of a fall, so it’s important that the front of the body protector covers your last rib.

Back length fitting
The correct back length fitting will vary slightly by rider preference, saddle type and the discipline you will be riding. However, your body protector should offer you lower back protection, without interfering with the saddle.

To check you have enough clearance from the back of your saddle, sit in the saddle and place your palm between the seat and your body protector. You should be able to fit 3-4 fingers in the gap.

Parents can sometimes be tempted to buy a body protector a size too big so the child has room to grow. However, if the body protector doesn’t fit correctly for every ride it isn’t safe.

If you are unsure of the fit of your body protector, or if you need to purchase a new one, it is recommended that you visit a BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) Approved Retailer. At Eland Lodge we offer a free fitting and checking service with our fully trained and qualified staff.

How to tell if your body protector is too tight or too small

Body protectors are designed to fit snugly without restricting your flexibility, balance, movement or breathing. If your body protector is too small, you may notice the following

Chest and waist fitting
If your movement or breathing feels restricted when your body protector is on it’s widest level of safe adjustment (on Velcro fastenings this will be where the red coloured Velcro is visible, on lace or elastic sides this will be where you can see the body protector gaping over the fastening), then your body protector is too small.

Body length fitting
Identify where your lowest ribs are – these should be covered by the foam panels. If they are not covered, then your body protector is too small, or not long enough.

Back length fitting
Sitting in your saddle, if you can fit more than 4 fingers/1 palm between the seat and your body protector then it is too small, or not long enough.

How to tell if your body protector is too loose or too big

If your body protector is too big you may notice the following:

Chest and waist fitting
Once fastened and tightened, if your body protector is still loose, or moved when you are riding then it is too big

Body length fitting
Find your natural tipping point (usually around 1 inch below your lowest ribs, If your body protector comes below this point it may interfere with your movement, so it is too big or too long.

Back length fitting
There is a common misconception that a body protector should cover your coccyx, however this is not the case. If your body protector comes below ¾ fingers above the seat of your saddle, it can catch on the cantle and interfere with your riding and balance. In this case your body protector is too big or too long.

Professionally Fitted Body Protectors

It is recommended that you visit a BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) Approved retailer with fully trained and qualified staff to get your body protector professionally fitted.

Here at Eland Lodge we offer a free fitting service to make sure you get the perfect fit for you. Here’s the process a body protector fitter will take to ensure your safety wear gives the best fit.

Measuring for a fitting
There’s a few different ways you will be assessed during a body protector fitting. An experienced fitter will know approximately what size models you’ll need to try on by looking at your body shape, or asking your UK dress size. Another accurate way is to take measurements of your chest, over the shoulder and back length then refer to the appropriate brand’s size chart.
Always take your measurements over light clothing

  • To measure your chest: place the tape measure over the fullest part of chest
  • To measure over the shoulder: find your natural tipping point (approx. 1 inch below your lowest rib) and measure from this point, over your shoulder to the level point on your back
  • To measure back length: down your spine, measure from your C7 vertebrae (the prominent one at the base of your neck, down to 3 or 4 fingers above the seat of your saddle.