Female Riders Should Wear a Sports Bra. Around 90% of marathon runners say they always wear a sports bra, yet as few as 14% of horse riders follow suit. So should more horse riders wear a sports bra? Absolutely YES!
So many women at events wear two or three bras and even tape themselves to hold their ladies down! You don’t have to be big busted to experience breast bounce. It is a real issue for female riders, regardless of cup size.
Unfortunately the breasts are not a muscle that we can train. They consist mainly of mammary glands and soft tissue with limited support provided by delicate Coopers Ligaments and the surrounding skin. Horse riding creates a large amount of vertical breast movement. Any form of repeated breast movement results in tension and strain on these ligaments, causing irreversible damage and sagging. Think of the Coopers Ligaments like a simple rubber band…if repeatedly over stretched a rubber band will not bounce back to its original size.
Many studies have investigated breast pain associated with sport, especially long distance running. In 2016 a study was finally conducted specifically with female horse riders. Over 40% of participants said they experience breast pain in the saddle, with 21% reporting that it affected their riding. The trot and canter involves large vertical movements of the horse’s body, which requires considerable effort by the rider to maintain a good stable posture. This is even harder for females that are dealing with breast momentum too.
Sports scientists testing the effectiveness of bras found that sports bras can prevent bounce by up to 80%, while normal everyday bras were only 38%.
Benefits of a Sports Bra for Female Riders
Aside from the obvious benefits of wearing an appropriate sports bra to reduce the risk of breast damage and pain, reducing breast bounce can significantly improve your riding performance. Horses are so in tune with their rider they can detect discomfort. It has been shown that a horse’s heart rate increases as a direct response to tension in the rider. Wearing a sports bra will provide a much more comfortable ride, helping both you and your horse to stay relaxed.
A well fitted sports bra not only reduces breast bounce, but also reduces breast displacement. There is nothing like a breast popping out over the top or side of your bra to cause real discomfort and affect your ride. Breast bounce and displacement is the most common factor causing feelings of self consciousness or embarrassment for female riders.