EN 13158: 2009
Protective Jackets, Body, & Shoulder Protectors for Horse Riders
Events such as racing, show jumping and cross-country riding present obvious hazards, but falls and kicks are likely to occur in all equestrian pursuits. Statistics show that many accidents occur during seemingly more sedentary exercises, such as general leisure riding (hacking) on the road. Although head injuries are generally by far the most serious, upper torso injuries can also be potentially life-threatening.
Equestrian protection has been available for a number of years and in various forms – such as helmets and body protectors offering protection against impacts. They have developed over the years from hard and stiff foam protectors with limited flexibility to softer, more comfortable garments allowing greater movement, which still provide at least the same level of protection.
EN 13158: 2009 assesses the protectors for a range of protective properties such as impact and protective coverage as well as taking into consideration the comfort and fit elements of the products. The standard includes provision for those riding and working with horses, as well as both carriage drivers and passengers.
The standard requires that impact testing must be carried out on whole body protectors, and as well as assessing the main zone of protection it also makes specific reference to the requirement of testing ‘weak points’, such as zip closures and hinged points during the impact assessment.
Testing of equestrian body protectors includes impact testing at ambient temperatures, and an optional 30°C impact test is also available. Protectors can be assessed as ‘Impact Level 1’, ‘Level 2’, or ‘Level 3’ garments. While levels 2 and 3 are considered suitable for general riding use, level 1 garments are only considered to be suitable for professional jockey use.
Testing of protective coverage is now required on at least seven sizes from the given size range where this many sizes are available. However, if one of these given sizes fails to meet the requirements, the standard states that full testing of the dimensions will be required on all sizes available within the given size range.
All internal girths are measured using a cone method rather than a tape measure or a wearer of suitable size. EN 13158:2009 does not permit detachable tail components to be included in the calculation of the minimum protective coverage of the garment. Detachable tails are now only permitted if they fully comply with all other requirements and are in excess of the minimum amount of protective coverage.
The standard also includes requirements for the labelling or marking and the information which suppliers or manufacturers should provide to wearers of their products to ensure that products are correctly used and users are fully aware of the level of protection that is being offered.
CE Mark & Chemical Testing
In Europe, equestrian protectors need to be CE marked and as part of the EC type examination process, assessment of the chemical properties of the materials used in the end products is also required. These materials are tested in accordance with the additional innocuousness requirements specified in EN ISO 13688: 2013 and include pH value, colour fastness to perspiration, chromium VI, azo colorants, nickel content, and PCPs as stated by the standard EN 13158: 2009.
In addition to claiming that their products meet the requirements of EN 13158, many companies also claim compliance with the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) standard. This standard is a UK certification scheme operated by BETA. Testing is based on EN 13158, but the scheme involves additional annual re-tests on the certified protector by a BETA-approved laboratory such as SATRA.
If you require BETA approval for your products, you must contact BETA directly and request an application form and a copy of the BETA 2009 standard. You will then need to complete the application form and return it to them. Generally, if BETA approval is required then an application must be sent to BETA before SATRA can begin testing of the products.