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Body Protectors



A body protector is compulsory for all Pony Club Cross Country riding and Pony Racing activities whether it be training or competition. A body protector for these activities must meet BETA 2018 Level 3 Standard (blue and black label).

For general use, the responsibility for choosing body protectors and the decision as to their use must rest with Members and their parents. It is recommended that a rider’s body protector should not be more than 2% of their body weight. When worn, body protectors must fit correctly, be comfortable and must not restrict movement. BETA recommends body protectors are replaced at least every three to five years, after which the impact absorption properties of the foam may have started to decline.

Air Jackets

If a rider chooses to wear an air jacket in Cross country or Pony Racing, it must only be used in addition with a normal body protector which meets BETA 2018 Level 3 standard (blue and black label). Parents and Members must be aware that riders may be permitted to continue after a fall in both competitions and training rides for Cross Country and / or Pony Racing if the First Aid provider has no concerns about their welfare. In the event of a fall, an air jacket must be fully deflated or removed before continuing, the conventional body protector must continue to be worn. Air jackets must not be worn under a jacket. Number bibs should be fitted over the air jacket loosely or with elasticised fastenings.

Members must always wear a protective hat when mounted. Only hats to the following specifications are acceptable at any Pony Club activity. The Pony Club is consistent with fellow BEF (British Equestrian) Member bodies in its Standards for Riding Hats. Individual sports may have additional requirements with regard to colour and type. It is strongly recommended that secondhand hats are not purchased.

All member’s hats used whilst with MSPC must be tagged with a Pink hat tag. Please speak to an MSPC official if you are in need of one.

Tagging is an external verification of the internal label and indicates that a hat meets the accepted standards. The tag does NOT imply any check of the fit and condition of the hat has been undertaken. It is considered to be the responsibility of the Member’s parent(s) / guardian(s) to ensure that their hat complies with the required standards and is tagged before they go to any Pony Club event. Also, they are responsible for ensuring that the manufacturer’s guidelines with regard to fit and replacement are followed.

Stirrups should be of the correct size to suit the rider’s boots. They must have 7mm (¼”) clearance on either side of the boot. To find this measurement, tack checkers should move the foot across to one side of the stirrup, with the widest part of the foot on the tread. From the side of the boot to the edge of the stirrup should not be less than 14mm.

There are now many types of stirrups marketed as ‘safety stirrups’. All riders must ensure that their stirrups are suitable for the type of footwear they are wearing and the activities in which they are taking part and that the stirrup leathers are in good condition.

It is strongly recommended that the design of the stirrup chosen allows the foot to be released easily in the event of a rider fall. Specific rules for individual sports can be found in the respective sports rulebooks.

Particular focus should be on ensuring that the boot and stirrup are the correct size for the rider taking part and used in line with the manufacturer’s guidance.

For the avoidance of doubt, at Pony Club events.

  • stirrups which connect the boot and the stirrup magnetically are not allowed
  • Interlocking boot soles and stirrup Treads are not allowed
Mounted Games

Bostock & Free Jump stirrups are not allowed at Pony Club Mounted Games events.

Stirrups which include Metal/ Metal type treads, including but not limited to those with protruding spikes and / or perforated grip features are NOT Permitted.

Please be aware that the specifications for whips for show jumping and cross-country have changed for all Pony Club competitions – basically you can only use the same whip as for British Show jumping (so if you have one that you use for BS, then that is fine – any other whip is NOT allowed).

The allowed whips can also be used for BE (though they don’t specify them at the moment) and must also be used for BRC competitions.

Riders may not hit their horse/ pony before the start of the
course and may be eliminated for doing so at the Judge’s discretion.

A whip, if carried, must be held in the hand by the handle with the
handle at the top. The whip must be “padded” and comply with the
current British Showjumping rule (BS Members Handbook, full wording
is available to view online at

The key points of that rule are as follows:
▶ The maximum length of the “Whip” is 70cm and must be no less
than 45cm.
▶ The “Contact area”, is considered to be 2/5’s (two fifths) of the
overall length of the “Whip” and must be covered with a “Pad”.
▶ There must be no “binding” within 17 centimetres of the end of the
▶ The “Pad” must be smooth, with no protrusion or raised surface,
and be made of shock absorbing material throughout its
circumference such that it gives a compression factor of at least
▶ There is to be no wording, advertising or personalisation of any
kind on the “Pad”.
Before buying any whip, please check with the retailer that it is BS

At all times, the whip must only be used:
▶ For a good reason, as an aid to encourage the horse forward.
▶ At an appropriate time, namely when the horse is reluctant to go
forward under normal aids of seat and legs.
▶ In the right place, namely down the shoulder or behind the leg but
never overarm.
▶ With appropriate severity.
▶ No more than twice for any one incident.

Excessive use of the whip anywhere on the showground will result in
▶ Use of the whip to vent a competitor’s anger is always excessive.
▶ Use of a whip which causes injury e.g. Broken skin or a weal, is
always excessive.
▶ Use after elimination or retirement is always excessive.
▶ Use on a horse’s head, neck etc. is always excessive.
▶ Using the whip from the ground after a rider fall or dismount is
always excessive.
▶ If the rider’s arm comes above the shoulder when using the whip,
this is always excessive


Spurs must only be used to enhance the normal leg aids and never to vent a competitor’s anger. Use of spurs which cause injury e.g. blood or broken skin is always classed as misuse, any misuse of spurs anywhere on a showground will result in disqualification. Further information can be found in the Rulebooks.