Should Horse Riders Wear a Sports Bra?
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. Should horse riders wear a Sports Bra?..…Absolutely YES!
Horse riding creates a large amount of vertical breast movement and any form of riding that is faster than walking is considered to be a high impact activity. This puts a lot of strain on delicate breast tissue and ligaments, causing irreversible damage and sagging. Sports scientist testing the effectiveness of bras found that sports bras can prevent bounce by up to 80%, while normal everyday bras only up to 38%.
Many studies have investigated breast pain associated with sport, especially long distance running. 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 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” (Source)
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 are so in tune with their rider they can detect their discomfort. It has been shown that a horse’s heart rates increase as a direct response to tension in the rider. A well fitted sports bra not only reduces breast bounce, but also reduces breast displacement; which is the most common factor in causing 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.
What are the best features of sports bras for horse riders?:
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 straps or racer back style is down to personal preference.
Some of our most popular High Impact Sports Bras for horse riding;
For more Sports Bras for Horse Riders please see our dedicated Equestrian/Horse Riding page.