Horse riding is a sport with inherent risks. That said, you can reduce those risks by being smart, following safety rules, and wearing proper safety equipment, says Lloyd Equestrian with shops in Carlisle and Dumfries.

Safety First As Competitions Start

AFTER the challenges of the past year it has been great to see events beginning again even without spectators.

While the pandemic has fundamentally changed our lives, our horses have continued to provide us with the distractions and pleasure that we love them for, but not being able to put them and ourselves as riders through our paces in competition has been a big miss.

The past year has been all about protecting ourselves and each other, so, while it’s a different kind of safety when we are riding, it is nonetheless essential to ensure that we have the right equipment to minimise the risk of injury and ensure we can continue to enjoy our sport fully but safely too.

Thanks to developments in design, technology and materials, equestrian equipment manufacturers are becoming even more innovative in their safety solutions, be that for helmets or body protectors, but how do you know what you need?


As with any safety item, a large proportion of the safety a helmet can provide is dependent on it being fitted correctly.

Different head shapes and different riding disciplines affect what style of helmet you need, so getting your helmet fitted by a trained expert is the right place to start as they can provide the help and advice to ensure that you have the right hat for your needs and your head.

Another important feature is ensuring that your helmet complies with international safety standards. Not all helmets will cover all three current standards as there are different levels which test for different types of accident. By choosing a riding helmet that has achieved as many certified standards as possible you are reducing your risk of injury.

Leading manufacturers such as Charles Owen and Samshield have invested heavily in ensuring their helmets are compliant, with Charles Owen even enhancing their safety features through their own focus on MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), an extra liner incorporated inside the riding helmet providing further protection to reduce brain shear in riding accidents involving falls at speed.

By using today’s innovations to gain a greater understanding of how the brain and safety features work, helmet manufacturers are able to enhance their new products for greater peace of mind for you.

Body Protectors

Similarly, developments in body protectors enable the rider to feel both safe and comfortable. Designed to mould to the form of each individual rider, body protectors can keep your vital organs and ribs protected by absorbing the high levels of energy created when falling off or being kicked by a horse.

There are different standards to reflect different grades of protection, ranging from BETA level 1 (green label), 2 (orange) up to 3 (blue), which is the highest rating. As with helmets, much of the protection is provided by the fit so it is important to be fitted by a trained professional to give yourself the maximum safety support.

For all aspects of safety wear – from helmets to hi-vis jackets – visit your local retailer who will be able to help and advise on the right equipment for your needs.

Lloyd Equestrian at Kingstown, Carlisle, is one such specialist whose staff are fully trained in fitting Charles Owen and Samshield safety items to give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your riding and competing to the full.