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Should Horse Riders Wear a Sports Bra?

Updated 26 May 2022.

I recently read a statistic that around 90% of marathon runners say they always wear a sports bra. Yet as few as 14% of horse riders follow suit.

Why is this? Horse riding generally requires specialist clothing. Riding boots, jodhpurs, and a riding top. So why not a sports bra?

So, should horse riders wear a Sports Bra? Absolutely, YES! Sitting trot, canter, jumping can all create breast bounce and keeping this bounce under control not only helps prevent breast soreness but allows you to focus on your riding.

Read on to find out more!

The Evidence

Horse riding can create a large amount of vertical breast movement depending on the horse’s gait. With faster gaits creating more bounce. That said I would say that any gait faster than a walk would be classed as high impact for your breasts.

This puts a lot of strain on delicate breast tissue and ligaments. Which can cause short-term discomfort and pain as well as possible long-term damage and sagging.

Sports scientist testing the effectiveness of bras found that sports bras can reduce breast bounce by up to 80%. While normal everyday bras only offered a 38% reduction. I know which I’d rather have! 

Many studies have investigated breast pain associated with impact sports. With a lot of focus on long distance running. Finally, a study was conducted specifically on female horse riders. Over 40% of participants said they experience breast pain in the saddle. With 21% reporting that it affected their riding. Not good!

The occurrence of breast pain and other bra-related issues increased with cup size and body mass.  They concluded “It is especially important that larger breasted riders, who experienced breast pain and bra issues more frequently, are educated in the importance of appropriate breast support during horse riding” (http://uopnews.port.ac.uk/2016/08/03/study-highlights-breast-pain-in-horse-riders/)

I would go one step further and say that all riders of all cup sizes should consider wearing a sports bra when riding. Your breasts will thank you.

Benefits for a Horse Rider

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 can be amazingly in tune with their rider. Especially if horse and rider have been together for some time. This association often allows the horse to feel the riders discomfort if they are feeling any. It has been shown that a horse’s heart rates increase as a direct response to tension in the rider.

A well fitted high support sports bra can reduce breast bounce and subsequently rider discomfort. This leads to a happier rider and a happier horse.

The right sports bra also reduces breast displacement. One of the most common causes of embarrassment for female riders.

Wearing a sports bra will increase your comfort level and assist in better posture to sit tall in the saddle. Resulting in a more confident rider and horse.

Should Horse Riders Wear a Sports Bra

Which Sports Bra is Best for You?

It is essential to choose a well fitting, high impact sports bra for horse riding. But there are also some other features you should consider.

Shape/Style: If you like a flattened look under your jacket choose a bra that compresses the breast tissue against your chest. Alternatively, if you prefer a more defined shape look for a bra that encapsulates each breast separately.

Coverage: To reduce breast bounce and displacement a bra with higher coverage is a better option.  Avoid bras that expose cleavage as this often results in breast tissue escaping during excessive movement.

Band:  The band of a sports bra is responsible for supporting the breast and controlling the bounce.  It needs to fit firmly (more so than your everyday bra) and not move up and down your back during activity.

Straps: Shoulder straps add stability but should not take the weight of your breasts. Over-tightening the straps can cause you to hunch your shoulders and affect your posture in the saddle. Ensure a snug fitting band rather than too tight straps. Regular padded straps or racer back style is down to personal preference.

Best-Selling Underwired Horse Riding Sports Bras

Best-Selling Wirefree Horse Riding Sports Bras

My Final Thoughts

We now know that horse riders should wear a riding bra to help reduce breast movement. One that is moisture wicking and contains a hook and eye fitting is perfect. No crops here!

Horse riding is a demanding sport. On both your body and your boobs. Getting fit and strong is best for your body. A good sports bra is best for your boobs.

Find the right sports bra for horse-riding and enjoy riding with support and comfort. Perfect for you and for your horse.

Yours in support.

Amy x

Amy Jaffers

Amy is the face behind Sports Bras Direct, Australia’s largest sports bra website. She's a mother of two, outdoors lover and sports bra expert. Her life mission is to help active women get the support they need as well as assisting women in need through her charitable donations.

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