How to measure and fit a body protector

wearing a body protector

If your body protector doesn’t fit properly, it won’t be able to offer the full protection that it is designed to.

A properly fitted body protector reduces injury and protects against soft tissue injuries, including bruising, lacerations and contact burn. It will also protect the liver, kidney and spleen.

This body protector fitting guide will help you find your correct sizing.

Charles Owen body protectors have been designed to fit every rider perfectly, regardless of shape, size, age or gender. They also meet the latest international body protector safety standards.

How to measure for a body protector

Measure over light clothing using a soft tape measure in centimetres (cm).

There are 4 simple steps to find your body protector measurements:

Step 1 – Waist

Measure the circumference of your waist by wrapping the measuring tape around your waist.

This measurement is important to ensure the body protector does not shift on the body.

Step 2 – Chest

Measure the circumference of your chest by wrapping the tape measure under your arms and around the widest part.

This measurement indicates which sizing range you fall into (eg. women’s or teen’s).

Step 3 – Back length

Measure from the base of your neck (C7 vertebrae) to the base of your spine.

Step 4 – Sizing

Select the corresponding size from the sizing chart for the particular body protector.

If possible, we recommend having a professional fitting with your local retailer.

How to fit and wear a body protector

Once you’ve chosen your body protector size, there are 6 steps to ensure it fits you correctly:

Step 1

Fit your body protector over light clothing, with heavier garments worn over the top.

Step 2

Before trying on, loosen the chest and waist straps of the body protector.

Step 3

Once on, insert thumbs into the armholes to bring the two panels together to make it easier to zip the body protector.

Step 4

Fasten the adjustable straps so that a snug but comfortable fit is achieved. Ensure the contrast orange velcro markers are covered.

This step will determine whether a smaller or larger size is required. If the orange cannot be completely covered, the body protector is too small. If the velcro fastenings cannot be closed enough to ensure a snug fit, the body protector is too large.

Step 5

Adjust the shoulders so the neckline lies flat against the body. If this cannot be achieved, a shorter back length may be needed.

Step 6

If possible, check the back length by sitting on a saddle and ensuring there is approximately a hand’s width between the saddle and base of the body protector.

At the front, the body protector should reach the breastbone at the top and cover the bottom rib at mid-chest by approximately 2.5cm, but should not cover the belly button.

Fitting checklist

A new body protector will mould to your body as you wear it, however there are 7 key things to check before riding.

Use this checklist to ensure your body protector fits properly.

  1. Snug fit on the waist with more room on the chest
  2. Able to take a deep breath in without feeling restricted
  3. Fully covers your rib cage but not your belly button, which is the bend point on your body
  4. To test that your body protector is the correct length, try bending forward at the waist. If your body protector digs into your stomach uncomfortably, it is likely too long
  5. Adjust your shoulder straps so that they lay midway between the point of the shoulder and the base of the neck
  6. There should be around three inches between the bottom of the back of the body protector and the cantle of your saddle. If the body protector is longer, it may interfere with the saddle
  7. Check that each strap covers the orange marker on the velcro. If you can still see any part of an orange section when your body protector is adjusted correctly, the body protector is too small.

If your body protector passes all of these fitting checks, it’s ready to ride in!

Body types

Charles Owen body protectors are designed to cater for any horse rider. There is a wide range of sizing to ensure that you will find a perfectly fitted body protector right off the shelf.


Charles Owen’s women’s body protectors include features which allow for all body types with a range of back lengths. This allows petite, plus-sized, curvy or tall riders to all fit into the range with ease.

Our body protectors are created to comfortably accommodate the bust as the chest measurement increases without changing the back length to be sure that the body protector fits correctly.


Charles Owen’s men’s body protectors reflect the typical features of a man’s body shape, taking into consideration tailoring over the shoulders and offering a generous cut across the rib cage.

As the chest sizes increase, back lengths can remain the same to ensure that the body protector remains proportionate.


Teenagers also have unique sizing within our body protector range to provide a neat fit. Our adjustable body protectors are designed to accommodate a growing teenager.


Young riders have the opportunity to be fitted in the body protector that best suits their needs as they grow up in the saddle.

Our kid’s body protectors offer standard sizes for those whose chest and waist measurements are the same and are sized with approximate age ranges. They are also available in short, regular, long and extra-long back lengths.

We want you to love your body protector, so please feel free to ask our knowledgeable fitting experts any questions.

Book a body protector fitting with your local stockist or browse our body protectors.

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