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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 16/12/2019.
The new body protector Eventing rule will be enforced as of 1 January 2020, are you ready?
Written by Amanda Mac - HorseVibes

Safety First in Eventing, Each and Every Time

If you’re an eventer, you need to be aware of important changes to the Equestrian Australia National Eventing Rules, or you may find yourself ineligible to compete as of 1 January 2020.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of riders and horses coming to grief in the cross-country component of events both here at home in Australia and overseas. Tragically, on occasion, these accidents have resulted in fatalities.

In an effort to reduce the likelihood of serious injury resulting from a fall, Equestrian Australia (EA) keeps up to date with all the new developments in personal protection equipment (PPE), with a view to updating its own rules regarding the standard of safety equipment it deems mandatory for competition.

The latest and most recent revision is to EA Eventing Rule EA 538.3.1 Cross-Country Body Protector, which now states that body protectors must be to the EN13158 Level 3 or BETA Level 3 standard. The new rule will be enforced as of 1 January 2020. And for those of you who are curious, BETA is the acronym for the British Equestrian Trade Association. 

Understanding what’s required

in order to understand the situation – and it’s essential that you are very clear on exactly what standard of body protector you need in order to be allowed to compete – let’s break this down.

For some time now, EA Eventing rules have required the use of a body protector during the cross-country phase. On 1 January 2018, the rule was made more specific with EN13158:2009 becoming the recommended (but not mandatory) standard for body protectors. In other words, if your body protector did not comply with that standard, you were still able to compete as long as you were wearing a body protector of some description.

With rider safety being of paramount importance to EA, a decision was subsequently taken to revise the existing EA Eventing rule so that as of 1 July 2019, a body protector manufactured after 2009 to the EN13158:2009 standard became mandatory. 

Note the change from ‘recommended’ to ‘mandatory’. In order to give time for riders to comply with the rules, EA decided on a six month period of grace, which expires on 31 December 2019. 

However, there has since been an important update to this body protector standard, which is set out in EA Eventing Rule 538.3.1. The revised rule now states that body protectors must be to the EN13158 Level 3 or BETA Level 3 standard, the standard that offers the highest level of body protection.

So, long story short, with the period of grace nearly at an end, as of the 1 January 2020, it will be mandatory for riders to wear body protectors to the EN13158 Level 3 or BETA Level 3 standard in order to be eligible to compete in the cross country phase of an EA event.

So that there is no doubt as to what type of body protector you require, it must comply with one of the following standards and be labelled accordingly:

• EN13158:2009 Level 3
• BETA 2009 Level 3
• EN13158:2018 Level 3, or
• BETA 2018 Level 3

An international shift to greater safety 

Equestrian Australia is not the only peak body to have upgraded its PPE rules. For example, in the UK, equestrians participating in cross-country riding conducted under the auspices of the Pony Club, British Eventing, British Riding Clubs and the British Horse Society (both in their registered riding schools and during British Horse Society exams) must wear body protectors that comply with the standard specified by those organisations.

Your safety is paramount

While alterations to rulings can sometimes be confusing, remember that they are made with your safety and well-being in mind. So continue to enjoy your cross-country riding, knowing that you’re protected up to the best currently available standards.

To access the EA’s news update on the revised Eventing Rule 538.3.1 body protector standards, please go to: https://bit.ly/2q1GSZJ.

A link to information on the original 1 July 2019 rule changes is available at the bottom of the page. If you’re an eventer, you need to be aware of important changes to the Equestrian Australia National Eventing Rules, or you may find yourself ineligible to compete as of 1 January 2020.

Article courtesy of HorseVibes  www.horsevibes.com.au

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