My history with body protectors is not particularly good.
About 3-ish years ago, I had a bad fall, from a horse which decided to buck me off as I cantered across a field. I broke my fall with my head and ended up in a bad way for a while (did this trigger lurking dystonia problems, one wonders?). But the longer term effects of this incident proved to be more subtle and more expensive than you might imagine.
First up, a new hat was required, as the one from the accident was a write off. Secondly, it gave me a fear of cantering, which took a lot of time, imagination and cash to get over. And thirdly, it set me off on the quest to find a body protector.
This, you’d think, would be pretty straightforward. Alas not. I did a lot of research to get the best level of safety, at a price that I could afford. This meant purchasing over the internet. The immediate problem which then arose was the question of fit.
All the manufacturers give measurements etc., so in theory, it should be easy to get something reasonably comfortable. But I failed, and failed and failed. At one point, I was expecting a special letter of thanks from Royal Mail’s management, for personally keeping them in business. How much did I spend on returning items back to suppliers? That question is kept in an envelope marked Do Not Open and is securely filed in a dark, dusty part of my brain.
The final result of this colossal waste of time was an Airowear Outlyne body protector, which seemed to be the best of the bunch. I wore this twice(?) and just felt so uncomfortable, that I gave up and hung it in the cupboard for two years. Having looked at it again, I think the product is fine. It’s the fit that’s the issue.
So, having been (quite rightly) nagged and nagged by my family to get a new body protector, especially now I’m effectively partially disabled by dystonia, this essential piece of kit has made a welcome return to my riding gear.
This time, I did the right thing. I went to a tack shop and got it fitted.