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Sarah, Author at FOMO
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Author: Sarah

Foam technology or air jacket? This is an ongoing debate, not only within the equestrian industry but motorcycling too. It seems that air technology has taken the upper hand when it comes to motorcycling, presumably because of the presence of airbags in motor vehicles and the similar velocity and impact forces that are associates with both. What’s the difference? The physics involved in an accident include an object’s mass and velocity giving the object kinetic energy. The greater the mass or velocity the greater the kinetic energy. The kinetic energy becomes problematic during a collision because energy cannot be lost, it is converted into another form of energy, therefore, riders need body protectors to absorb or dissipate this energy in the event of an accident.] Our foam technology utilises the characteristics of viscoelastic foam which deforms under contact to disperse the energy of an impact then returns to its original shape when the force has been removed, illustrated above, (providing the force did not exceed the point of permanent deformation) as shown in the graph below. A bonus of viscoelastic foam is its ability to mould to the shape of the wearer due to its temperature-sensitive nature and the user’s body heat. Air jackets, on the other hand, deflate immediately following full inflation to protect the wearer by decelerating the body in a fraction of a second when impact occurs as illustrated by the diagram below. The result is reduced velocity and thus lower kinetic energy meaning the energy and force transferred to the wearer is significantly lower than would be present if no air jacket had been worn. The inflation can occur in different directions depending on the design or direction of least resistance. Some people favour inward inflation as it is intended to secure the body minimising movement as much as possible whereas outward inflation is designed to limit any negative effects the airbag could have on the wearer. Horse riding, on the other hand, seems to still favour foam body protectors despite the increasing popularity of air jackets. This could be because air jackets cannot currently be certified to BETA level 3 standard and therefore when this is a requirement of a discipline set out by the governing body, an additional BETA level 3 approved body protector needs to be worn as well. There a significant difference between the two technologies beyond their certified levels of protection. The main one that comes to mind is the activation process, or lack of one, in the case of foam body protectors. Air jackets require the attachment lead between the rider and the saddle to experience enough tension to activate the jacket mechanism thus releasing the pressurised gas from the canister and inflating the jacket. Air jackets can also be wireless and activated on impact, using a variety of sensors to trigger the inflation which is an improvement on the dead man’s cord used in equestrian disciplines. Unfortunately, this cord method is not perfect and there have been recorded instances where air jackets have not inflated during a fall as the attachment lead has not detached from the jacket mechanism. Alternatively, there have also been cases where the jacket has inflated unnecessarily, likely due to the violent movements that can occur during certain equestrian disciplines. Price is always a key factor when deciding which body protector to buy and that is no different when choosing between air jackets and foam technology. In general, air jackets are significantly more expensive than foam body protectors, with some being as much as £500 whereas it is to get a BETA level 3 certified body protector for £250, half the price. Although this may seem like a simple decision, the lifespan of the products should also be factored in. Air jackets can be reused after accidents according to the manufacturer’s guidelines by replacing the gas canister and this can be done around 5 times depending on the manufacturer. With replacement gas canisters costing as little as £20, this means it would cost approximately £600 (original cost + replacement canisters) throughout an air jacket’s lifespan. However, foam body protectors need to be replaced after one severe accident meaning that having 5 high severity accidents would equate to 5 foam body protectors, costing £1,250. These scenarios have been simplified for the sake of this example, however, it is certainly something worth considering before purchasing your next body protector. It has also been documented that the noise produced during the activation of the inflation system can startle already flighty horses, compounding the issues associated with a fall, however, it is that same system that allows air jackets to be light. In conclusion, foam protectors are still currently considered superior, however, this could change in the future as air technology is more widely accepted within the industry. What is your preference - air or foam? Let us know in the comments below.   Team FOMO...

I've been very quiet as of late as it's been super busy here. I've recently moved house to round the corner from my previous place and we've been gearing up at work towards Cheltenham Gold Cup week so it's been a bit manic! Trusty has been ticking over, however, we've had some saddle issues and a few leftover issues from his fall at Gatcombe last year. Luckily, I've found a fantastic equine chiropractor, Bryony Barraclough, who's put us back on track and I think I've found the right pad combination for his jumping saddle so we are slowly getting there. I've taken a break from competing for a while whilst I concentrate on building Trusty's fitness and muscles up in the right way. Bryony has given us the advice to do lots of hill work and raised pole work to get him using himself better and I'll be having her back out at the start of April to check how he is coming along. My powers of imagination are being put to the test with new things to do - the hacking around my yard is very limited and mainly roadwork so I am making use of walking and trotting up and down a nearby hill until the ground dries out some more to be able to get into the large hill field, once the mares are not in there anymore. I've been using Facebook constantly to come up with more raised pole exercises so we're not always doing the same thing - my top tip is to not forget how much horses work in walk! Raised poles done in walk uses each leg individually so it's really beneficial in building muscle and balance. With working full time and riding just being my hobby, I am increasingly looking at what I am spending my money on and what benefit I'm getting out of it. Recently, Trusty had been having lots of fences down competing - nothing particularly major but he is one of those horses who just has to breath on a pole and it can come down. With the issues we've been facing, I'm working on improving his technique over a fence which again comes back to building up the right muscles and getting him to use himself. With this in mind, I'm spending more time course hiring rather than competing. I find with course hire, I can spend either the same or less money on a half-hour or full hour slot than what I spend on 2 rounds of competition jumping. Therefore, with what I am working on at the moment, I get more value out of the course hire than competing. My plan for the rest of March is some more show jump course hire and then hopefully our first grass cross country hire by the end of the month and then in April it will be lessons and more hiring with perhaps a show put in before our services season begins. Don't worry though as we'll be back out competing soon - I'm entered into the UK Armed Forces Championships in Addington at the end of April and I have also entered a Gloucestershire Police Team for the Royal Windsor Horse Show Services Jumping in May. I am also planning on doing the riding club 2-day event at Stoneleigh in May and then the riding club horse trials qualifiers in June so there are lots of plans afoot! The most important thing to remember with your horses is that they are not machines and sometimes things don't quite go to plan. Don't waste your money plugging away at the same old things when you can use it more efficiently to get better results. I'm hoping all my training pays off and we'll reap the rewards once the season is underway proper. Jenna...

With the eventing season fast approaching, riders up and down the country are planning their seasons and setting goals to work towards as a partnership. The most important thing about goal setting is to be specific and create SMART goals, which means that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Here's how...

It's been a whole week since we opened the doors to our very first trade stand at BETA International. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, BETA is a world-class exhibition which takes up three of the huge halls in the iconic Birmingham NEC and welcomes the best and the brightest minds in the equestrian and country sectors to showcase their brand new products and innovations.  We had a busy three days discussing the unique selling points of our brand new FAZE Body Protector with the press as well as plenty of potential stockists, each proving enthusiastic about the comfort and safety elements of the product and were very excited about our impending launch. We also had the huge honour of being chosen to meet with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to tell her all about our company and the work we have done to innovate equestrian safety.  It was incredible to be surrounded by so many amazing businesses, so here are a few of our favourite innovative products and companies: DVR Equestrian  DVR Equestrian is an equestrian sportswear brand creating sustainable garments manufactured from recycled and organic materials. Their garments feel luxurious and have been designed with the practicality of everyday life at the stables in mind, including a Style Vis collection to help riders stay safe while hacking. View the range here: https://dvrequestrian.com     Mackenzie & George  Mackenzie & George's gorgeous accessories (the Dotty Tetbury belt being our particular favourite) are handcrafted in their rural Shropshire workshop from material which is carefully considered for its durability and naturally sourced where possible. Every time we went past their stand was filled with excited buyers eyeing up the unique and subtle detailing on each product.  Shop the collection here: https://www.mackenzieandgeorge.com Neue Schule Headline sponsors of the BETA conference, Neue Schule continue to innovate the bitting world. They brought with them their very own four-legged steed (mechanical we will add) who was there to test every rider's contact with a score out of ten - the highest score winning a large bottle of champagne! Throughout the event, a few famous faces were accepting the challenge, including Scottish 5* rider Wills Oakden who scored over 9 points.   Shop their range of bits here: https://nsbits.com/products Equilibrium  Equilibrium has been innovating the equestrian world for almost 20 years now, sharing our passion for safety. 2020 sees them launch an incredible new version of an age-old horse wear product that we use every single day, but that often gets overlooked when it comes to the safety aspect. We won't reveal any details here but we suggest you keep an eye on their website for release information. Shop Equilibrium here: https://www.equilibriumproducts.com The Wide Boot Company The Wide Boot company share our vision of creating the perfect fit. Their Atia Field Boot, winner of the BETA Design Innovation Award is a plus-sized boot designed to be slimmer and more fitted around the ankle, giving the wearer a more slimline, comfortable fit.  Learn more here: https://www.thewidebootcompany.com And finally a special shout out to Gibbons of Suffolk, our BETA "next-door neighbours" who sell the most comfortable full and half chaps which are supple and made for comfort in the saddle.  It was also fantastic to catch up with two of our wonderful brand ambassadors, Jenna Hastings and Alex Holman. I think you will agree that Alex was very happy to finally try on the FAZE body protector. He even took it for a little test drive and helped team GBR to Trot to Tokyo!   ...

Supporting Forces Equine and their events it's extremely important to us as they provide fantastic opportunities within the sport for hard-working servicemen, woman and their four-legged companions. We caught up with Debi who is the founder of Forces Equine and the brains behind this fantastic organisation...

So it’s been an interesting Summer! Trusty is really moving up now and I’m so proud of what we are both achieving. I’ve moved to a wonderful new yard with some fantastic people who have really pushed me so far this year – it’s been great to have that support. We competed at Forces Equine Games in July in dressage and show jumping. Trusty pulled 5th and 3rd out of the bag in the Prelim and Novice tests which I was so pleased with. He then did his first speed class over the 1m05 ride and run indoors where he coped really well. He then jumped in the 95cm and 105cm rounds where we had a bit of 8 fault-itis but the course was big and he jumped out of his skin which I was so happy with. Our next big outing was a return visit to Hickstead Royal International Horse Show for the Riding Club team event with Forces Equine. This was Trusty’s second visit to the show and he moved up to the 95cm class. As he is eligible for any of the heights we had moved around a little to fit in with the team dynamics as we had a few last-minute pull-outs. Again, he was super but finding 95cm a little small to keep his attention so I learnt I should have kept him at 105cm but that’s something we can put forward for next year. At home, he has been schooling over 1m15-1m20 fences and I am finding that this is far more worthwhile with him as he is actually jumping and thinking about where his feet are. I also know though that there is a big difference between jumping 3 or 4 big fences strung together at home and jumping a full course of them so we have also been going out to course hire to build the confidence not only for the horse but for me at that level as I have never ventured over a metre! At the start of August, I made a last-minute decision to enter the arena eventing at Gatcombe Festival of British Eventing. This was my first trip here and we decided to put Trusty in the 100 section. He felt great in the warm-up and started off really well in the class once he’d realised he was a) really jumping on grass for the first time and b) got to jump cross country jumps once he’d jumped a few show jumps! Sadly disaster struck for us over a coloured arrowhead coming out from the hedge line. Trusty had a glance off at first presentation and then when he came again he seemed to stop mid-air and fell on the fence, firing me out over his head and the other side of the fence. I was luckily not injured too badly, just a few usual bruises but that was thanks to wearing my back protector and air jacket – without these I would have been more seriously injured due to the way I fell. Unfortunately, Trusty did not come off so favourably. I led him out of the ring and whilst standing speaking to a friend of mine that had been watching, he began to bleed quite profusely from a large cut to his heel on the front leg. Luckily, being at such a big show I had a fantastic vet on call at the ring from Abbey Vets who also happened to be a friend of mine from my Forces Equine side of things. She sprang into action to treat a very large overreach injury and Trusty ended up sporting 12 staples in his heel. From the pro photos, it appears that Trusty stood on his front foot with his back, pinning his leg to the ground with the stud and ripping through his foot as he tried to take off. As you can imagine, I felt awful as I had made a big mistake of leaving his overreach boots off which I religiously put on for cross country as a result of putting studs in. I had completely forgotten these as I was thinking more of the showjumping I was doing as well where I would not use overreach boots usually. I have hugely learnt my lesson and will never forget these again when jumping in studs – I’d much rather roll a show jump than deal with an injury like that again. This injury set us back immensely as it took quite a long time to heal and I had a holiday booked for September so it has meant we lost out competing in August eventing and then also lost September and the Winter Forces Equine Games in October due to lack of fitness. I have been very lucky though as the injury missed anything vital and Trusty has not had a lame day out of it – this is mainly down to the swift and fantastic vet work I got at Gatcombe. After 3 weeks box rest he was back out in the field and starting fitness building work. We are back on the job again now though and he feels really good – he had a first proper jump the other day and was great so I am tentatively working towards one last 90 run at Aston Le Walls at the end of October. I wanted to just move him back to 90 so that this was a confident run to end the season and then we will work on our showjumping and dressage over the Winter. He will go cross country schooling the weekend before Aston to give him a bit more experience and then we both know Aston well so it’s a great place to finish the season. I am hoping to finally make that big leap and affiliate with British Show Jumping this Winter as I feel that Trusty has got the capability to at least make 1m10 level. It’s just about building both of our confidence but I am lucky enough to have some very knowledgeable and supportive people around me now who are pushing me in all the right directions. Wouldn’t it be great to make Novice level by the end of next year, or perhaps bigger? Jenna...

As part of our campaign to spread the word about the importance of body protection on every single ride, not just on the cross country course, we are embarking on a quest to reach as many riders as possible to highlight the benefits of body protection. After all, you wouldn't go riding without a helmet, so why risk a ride without protecting your torso aka. where your vital organs are housed? We are delighted to launch our FOMO Fitting Lab UK tour, which will see our team visiting yards and events up and down the country holding demos, fitting our new FAZE 100 body protector and answering your safety questions.    The first leg of our journey as you may well know was close to home here in Scotland at the stunning Blair Castle International Horse Trials. We were delighted to partner with renowned safety specialists A2B equestrian who hosted our fitting lab in their prime location stand by the show jumping arenas.  Our objective for the weekend was simple: make as many riders as safe as possible in the saddle. We brought along sample sizes for visitors to try on and took measurements to advise riders of all shapes and sizes the FAZE100 best for them. Each visitor to the stand was fitted for their new body protector by FOMO Founder, Carmen, who is not only an inspiring businesswoman but also has a degree in engineering which has given her the skills to create a truly innovative safety essential.  During your time in the fitting lab, you will be shown the features of our Body protector and how the unique adjustable mechanism works to mould your body protector to your exact body shape; by limiting the space between your body and the foam we are significantly reducing the margin for injury should you fall.  With pre-orders pouring in over the four days at Blair there were corks popped and bubbles aplenty while customers fed back how comfortable and lightweight the FOMO FAZE100 truly is. One customer almost left the stand wearing it because she had forgotten she even had it on! Stay tuned for more FOMO Fitting Lab dates very soon.  ...

Horse riding has been a huge part of my life since I was little and has become an even bigger part of my life since starting FOMO (formerly TEQNOX) back in 2016. I hated riding in a body protector growing up and would do my best to avoid wearing one at all costs no matter how bruised and battered I was. Going to university meant that I sold my horse and fell away from riding for a while but a series of sporting injuries on the netball court meant that I soon found myself back doing what I loved and competing for the university equestrian team. It was a combination of this and my bachelor’s year project for Sports Engineering that saw me come up with the concept of redesigning body protection for equestrian sport. That was in 2015 you can imagine my relief (and eyebags) now that we are finally launching FAZE100.  The concept behind the name of FAZE100 comes from the definition of the word ‘FAZE’ which means to change or disturb and that is exactly what we want to do. FOMO wants to change the perception of body protection and create products that are so comfortable, you won’t even know you’re wearing them. It’s been a tough journey but a rewarding one and the team and I thought this would be a good point to share some of the highs and lows of the process and maybe inspire more people to try out our product or innovate in this amazing sport that we all love so much. In the beginning  The first-ever prototype I made for my university end of year presentation was horrendous. I learned to sew, bought a £16 sewing machine from Amazon and had a crash course in one of my best friends grannies living room. There was quite literally blood, sweat and tears.  Gaining traction Winning the Sports Innovation Challenge back in 2016 was one of the best moments of my life. The keynote speaker was Van Phillips that created the blade-runner prosthesis that you associate with Paralympians. Funnily enough, he is also a keen horse rider. Having successful business people from the likes of Addidas and MyProtein believe in the idea was really motivating and gave me the belief that I could actually go out there and make the idea a reality.    Overcoming hurdles Explaining to non-horsey folk things that horsey folk would naturally understand can sometimes be a challenge. Taking things right back down to basics has been a requirement for us to fundraise and ensure our research and development has been focused on making a product that performs the way you need it to. Research & Development One of my favourite moments to date was when we were drop testing on to the body protector and mechanism again and again and the results were brilliant. Don’t worry we filmed some videos of this that we will be sharing with you all in the near future. Current Stage So we are finally at first production runs of products. It’s very exciting, the foam is en route, adjusters are being made and the garments are being sewn! The team has tested this body protector over and above standard requirements and we will be excited to receive official certification soon.    Try before you buy On a final note, we will be at the A2B stand at Blair Castle International Horse Trials. So come visit us and try before you buy! The team will also be taking product reservations so you can ensure you are first on the list to become part of the FOMO family. Thanks again to everyone for following our journey! Now it’s time for us to pull our socks up and deliver on what you have all been waiting for.  Carmen...

After I was notified that I had been picked for the BE 100 team I was absolutely ecstatic that my hard work had paid off, however this being mine and Herbies first Frickley I was very nervous. We travelled down on Wednesday night the lorry was packed with everything you could possibly think of, enough to last a month. When we arrived we were able to settle Herbie in and meet the team.   Thursday morning was trot up morning, we were all kitted out in our very smart FOMO jackets and GT blade sharpening hat covers. Herbie passed with flying colours as did the rest of team Scotland all looking very smart. Half of the team faced the 38-degree heat to do dressage on Thursday with everyone producing good tests considering the conditions. Herbie was raring to go on Thursday night when I took him for a leg stretch even though it was roasting. Friday morning was our dressage day and it was an early start for us, beginning with a warm-up with Olivia Willmott; Herbie was very chilled and worked very well. Following this, we returned to the stables to bath and plait him up to ensure he was looking his best for our test at 2.12pm. I was on board an hour before my time and after watching the last of the Scots do their dressage tests, the pressure was definitely on. Herbie didn't let the big atmosphere get to his head and kept his cool as did I. He produced a very good test to finish on 31.8 which I was very pleased with and it put us into 19th position going into the next phase. After our third course walk with the team and Sue Hendry it was time for dinner then an early bed to ensure we were well-rested ahead of Cross Country day. Saturday morning we woke up to the sound of torrential rain and plenty of mud - a big change from the previous day's weather but being the Scottish team we are well used to unpredictable weather. I was last to go in our team and was so nervous after watching everyone come back with good rounds in what was very challenging weather conditions. However, I didn’t let it get to us, and Herbie and I flew around the course clear inside the time with the feeling that he could do it all over again when he finished. Everyone rushed into action at the finish line and it was great teamwork as the 2* team helped to wash, ice and walk the horses, which was much appreciated. After all the Scottish were back safe and sound Sue did a great course walk with us for the SJ before Sunday. Sunday started with the final trot up and the rain hadn't stopped, however, we were again very smart (and dry) in our FOMO jackets and the horses stayed warm in their lovely rugs sponsored my Lindores. Thankfully Herbie passed again with flying colours then we had a bit of a wait until SJ as we were last to go out of the Scottish team. Having never done a 3day event before I didn’t know how Herbie would go but Sue helped warm us up with a short and sharp warm-up which was what we thought was best for him. He went in and had a bit of a spook but once I got him going he jumped a perfect clear round within the time. This meant that we finished an incredible 10th out of 80+ very talented u18 combinations and the highest placed Scottish rider.  It was an amazing experience and made even better with my very supportive teammates and trainers. Thanks once again to all of the wonderful sponsors that supplied us with our amazing kit -  we all looked very smart and the horses very much appreciated their well-deserved polo mints!!   Photos kindly supplied by Jim Spiers...