SOURCE: Heads and Tails

March 25, 2010 11:30 ET

Safety Is the Goal for Professional Equestrian Riders and Air Is the Revolution in Body Armor

Olympian Riders Count on the Point Two Air Jacket to Help Prevent Serious Body Injuries

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - March 25, 2010) - Olympic riders and equestrian fans are excited about the start of Galway Downs Equestrian Event this weekend, and everyone wins if riders manage to avoid injuries, experts and coaches say. Anyone who has ever watched a National Football League (NFL) game knows that equipment is a major part of the sport, but few are aware how these revolutionary technologies are influencing safety in the equestrian world.

Today, every part of the NFL player's body is covered and protected by some sort of equipment and their research is driving innovations. All over the world, professional riders are working with organizations such as the United States Equestrian Association (USEA), the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) to lead the effort with these innovations. "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," stated "Buck" Davidson, son of legend Olympian Bruce Davidson.

This weekend, at Galway Downs in Temecula California, and at equestrian competitions worldwide, Olympian's like Silver Medalist Gina Miles will be wearing the latest in body armor, the Point Two Pro Air Jacket. Air is fast becoming a revolution in safety equipment, helping to prevent and reduce the severity of injuries among the top riders in the sport including Olympian Karen O'Connor, Fair Hill Champion Boyd Martin, Olympian Hawley Bennett, Rolex Rider Buck Davidson and Young Rider Champion Olivia Loiacono. "Air is becoming the solution," said David O'Connor, Gold Medalist Olympian and President of the USEF; he added, "Technology is increasing, and the equestrian world is capitalizing on the latest research in sports like the NFL and Professional Motorcycle Racing and taking the lead by harnessing these technologies."

The USEA Safety Committee is also recommending the Point Two Pro Air Jacket. While this equestrian sport 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 USA 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; he added, "Along with the Point Two Air Jacket, there are basic rules that can to be followed by riders, parents and coaches for injury prevention." A host of 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.
  • Whether training at speed, jumping over fences, in competition or training young horses, all riders should be encouraged to use the Point Two Air Jacket and protective helmet.

Protective safety equipment has been developed and recommended for many different sports. The use of safety equipment may be advocated by the government, national medical organizations, public health professionals, safety groups, national governing bodies of sports or sports associations to prevent many different types of injuries, especially catastrophic injuries. Today, the USEA, USEF, Olympian and Professional Riders in the 3-Day Eventing world are becoming safer while encouraging our youth to ride smart and safe while enjoying their horses. For more information go to: www.pointtwousa.com; for pictures go to: http://www.headsandtails.tv/p2pr.

About Point Two USA

Point Two USA Air Jacket is the worlds fastest air deployed safety vest. This revolution in body armor is protecting riders by inflating within 0.1 of a second after separation from their horse. Providing body protection to the vital organs, ribs, neck, and back. Distributed by Wordley-Martin Equestrian LLC, the leaders in safety devices and products for the horse and rider.

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