Body protectors, particularly an articulated shock absorbing vest for use in the equestrian sports. The vest is characterized by its capability of absorbing traumatic impact and crush, while not interferring with movement of the equestrian rider's torso and arms. The vest includes a back panel and two adjoining side panels conformed to fit the human torso. Each panel includes a plurality of shock absorbing cellular foam ribs independently and movably supported in skeletal array. A protective spinal sheath is supported upon the back panel.