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New safety equipment for horseback riders like having an 'air bag'

BONSALL – Young equestrian competitor Olivia Loiacono of Bonsall has been sporting the latest in safety gear by wearing a new revolutionary body armor designed for horseback riders called the Point Two Air Jacket. The company that manufacturers the innovative new design is sponsoring Loiacono in her competitions. Designed to help riders avoid injuries, the new technology is being embraced by professional riders, including a host of Olympians.

“I fell a couple weeks ago and if it were not for the air jacket I would not have gotten up, let alone ridden a horse in competition just minutes later,” said Buck Davidson, son of legend Olympian Bruce Davidson.

At the end of March, at Galway Downs in Temecula, the new body armor was very visible in the competition.

While equestrian sports inherently carries risks, advancements in safety equipment construction, such as the air jacket, properly fitted helmets and good coaching techniques taught from an early age are combining to dramatically reduce the risk of serious injuries.

High-speed collisions over fences and training of younger horses in the field at speed and jump training are often associated with rib fractures and underlying injuries. Point Two UK is working with Traffic Research Laboratories Limited, a leader in scientific research, to study the effects during impact testing for frontal and rear impact. This research will be unveiled at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on NBC at the end of April.

“Most rib fractures, underlying organ injuries, compression and bending impact loads to the spine can be reduced by following a few safety measures,” said Craig Martin, Point Two USA founder and world class rider. “Along with the Point Two Air Jacket, there are basic rules that can to be followed by riders, parents and coaches for injury prevention.”

Professional riders and equestrian experts offer these tips for every rider whether young or old, training or in competition:

• Riders’ safety equipment such as the air jacket and safety helmet must be properly fitted. Professional coaches, trainers and parents should ensure that they are always employed, especially in advance of speed training, riding younger horses and competition over fences.

• Riders and their horses should undergo regular physical exams, and those with a history of prior injuries should be identified and watched carefully.

• Strengthening and preconditioning of both horse and rider are extremely important for all involved in the equestrian world.

• Coaches and trainers must know what to do in the case of a possible catastrophic injury. Preparation could help prevent permanent disability.

• Coaches, parents and athletes should acquaint and educate themselves with the protective equipment that minimizes the risk of injury to the horse and the rider. For more information on the Point Two Air Jacket, go to


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