Body protectors for the equestrian industry

Neil J. Smith, Andrew Harrison

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


This project was set up as a mini KTP funded by Northumbria Enterprises and Airowear (7K), a regional SME specialising in the design and manufacture of equestrian body protection equipment. One outcome was ‘Zippa’; a new and easier to fit and wear general purpose upper body protector. Zippa meets higher test standards, coupled with a simplified manufacturing methodology and stronger market definition for the company. It maintains the company’s product range as the leading UK manufactured product. This success required knowledge assets to be integrated within the organisation, allowing the development and manufacturing teams to share coherent design files for all the company’s products. Airowear has recently been short-listed as one of three finalist for Northeast business awards; ‘Best Small Business’ and ‘Best Innovation’ awards 2007: Airowear received a best new product nomination by Beta for its range of colour swaps. The company has currently doubled its sales of body protectors this year; it now supplies some of the UK’s best event riders and consequently sponsors OETCC events, one of the leading equestrian events in the world. Throughout the programme Smith developed a closer working relationship for the company with the Blue Hibiscus test house concerning industry standard; EN13158 2000; leading to their increased understanding of design and manufacturing changes within Airowear. A closer working relationship was also developed with the standards body SATRA. The Airowear CEO now sits on its board. Smith worked closely with Newcastle University School of Engineering to enable research by the CfDR, Newcastle and Airowear regarding non-PVC foams for use in body protector construction (research funding £16k). Proposals to research dynamic test methodologies to more closely replicate impacts commonly occurring in falls by horse riders are being planned.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherManufacturer: Airowear
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2007


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