Mairi Olivier

Mairi Olivier

Product Design BSc

Shock-Absorbing Body Protection

Improving body protection in equestrian sports

This project focuses specifically on body protection for horse riders. Despite the known risks, many riders refuse to wear body protection during routine riding. This is typically because the traditional body protector is bulky, uncomfortable and restrictive, and many riders feel that this outweighs any benefit of wearing one. This design combines hexagonal and triangular shapes, which work together as a system to provide an ultra-flexible garment. It uses two different shock absorbing materials, polyurethane foam and a non-Newtonian polymer, which are layered over one another to provide the same level of protection at reduced material thickness. This in turn reduces the size and weight of the body protector, further increasing comfort and flexibility for the rider. Whilst this project focuses particularly on equestrian sports, the design principles are applicable to any sport or activity where shock absorbing body protection is required.