USHJA launches equestrian safety vest research campaign

The partnership with Virginia Tech follows a successful joint project to improve helmet safety standards.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky—The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association has announced the launch of its Equestrian Safety Vest Research Campaign, pledging $100,000 towards a $450,000 fundraising goal to begin the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab’s research to improve air vests used by the equestrian community.

“Safety vests have become very popular in our sport and in our discipline, but unfortunately, we know very little about their capabilities,” said Joe Dotoli, chair of the USHJA Safety Committee. “We recently concluded scientific research on helmets and how well they protect us against concussion. Building off that momentum, we are excited to once again partner with Virginia Tech to conduct a new research project on safety vests.”

A need for equestrian-specific research

The use of chest protection in equestrian sports has become common but there is little equestrian-specific research and testing available for equestrian air vests. The purpose of the Equestrian Safety Vest Research campaign is to review current equestrian vest protection standards, investigate the most common types of torso impacts and injuries, evaluate current testing methodologies, develop a biofidelic impact protocol for evaluating air and standard protective vests, and finally, test and rate the performance of current chest protection systems for the equestrian community.

image of horse with rider wearing safety vest, taken from the back
AdobeStock image

“The USHJA is committed to furthering research and technology in this field and to the safety of our equestrian community, and we need your help raising the funding to complete this important and necessary research,” said Dotoli. 

To begin research, 50% of the total cost of $825,000 must be raised. The USHJA encourages other equestrian organizations and individuals to also pledge their support to help fund this crucial research which will help set standards for air vests in equestrian sport.

To donate to the Equestrian Safety Vest Research Campaign to help Virginia Tech reach the beginning funding goal of $450,000, click here. For more information, visit the USHJA website.

The USHJA is the US Equestrian-recognized national affiliate for the Hunter and Jumper disciplines. A competition-based sport organization, it serves its members through educational programs, awards and recognition, communication and rules, providing a wide array of programs for all Hunter/Jumper levels. Besides being mindful of the well-being of its equine partners, the USHJA is committed to preserving the history of the hunter/jumpers sport and supporting charitable and benevolent services through its Foundation.

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