Subcommittee F08.55 on Body Padding, part of ASTM International Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities, is seeking the expertise and advice of professionals, manufacturers and riding groups within the horse racing world to assist in the development of a proposed new standard, WK14824, Specification for Body Protectors Used in Equine Competition and Racing.
WK14824 will cover minimum performance criteria and describe test methods for body protectors for use in equine competition and racing. It will also address the unique needs of participants in equine competition and racing events.
According to Sonia Flores Pishehvar, Subcommittee F08.55 member and administrator, California Horsemen’s Safety Alliance, the CHSA began to gather information on statistics on the type of injury occurrences among stable employees, hot walkers, grooms, exercise riders and jockeys. The highest frequency of accident type in this study was exercise riders and jockeys being thrown off a horse during morning workouts or live races. During follow-up meetings to this study, jockeys and exercise riders voiced concern on the fit, comfort and usability of their safety equipment, particularly body padding, and the safety standards that mandated them. It was well-known jockey Paul Atkinson who was instrumental in voicing a need to upgrade the design of racing safety vests.
“The key factor is that the design of a vest that the jockey would be willing to use needs to be lightweight and pliable, eliminating the need for jockeys to make any custom tailoring,” notes Pishehvar. Currently, riders often modify vests by removing padding in order to improve their fit and functionality.
Pishehvar says that once WK14824 is approved and published, it is expected that the California Horse Racing Board will adopt it as the mandated rule in California, so that all safety vests used by jockeys participating in racing events in that state will be held to the standard. “Based on interest from other jockey associations around the country and abroad, we hope that these groups will also adopt the proposed standard when it is approved,” says Pishehvar. //
Technical Information: Sonia Flores Pishehvar, California Horsemen’s Safety Alliance, Arcadia, Calif.
ASTM Staff: James Olshefsky
November Committee Week