A review of breast issues facing female horse riders

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The vast majority of horse riders (equestrians) are female (73.5%), but little is known about their experience as equestrians, barriers to participation and physical challenges faced. In non-equestrian sports, one of the most often reported barriers to physical activity is the female breast. In these sports the breast has been found to be a barrier to physical activity due to embarrassment (Omrani et al., 2020) and exercise induced pain (Brown & Scurr, 2016) associated with excessive breast movement. Equestrians experience upper-body movement patterns in response to large vertical excursions of the horse particularly in the ‘leaping’ gaits such as trot and canter where there is a moment of suspension between the stance phases of the equine gait (Clayton et al., 2000). The aim of the rider is to absorb these forces whilst maintaining the ideal position maintaining a straight line ‘ear-shoulder-hip-heel’ yet how this effects breast movement and potentially pain in riders was unknown. Breast movement and pain experienced in other sporting activities is significantly reduced by the use of appropriate and well-fitting sports bras (Scurr et al., 2010; White et al., 2009) but the experiences of the female equestrian and their sports bra usage were unknown.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of physical fitness, medicine and treatment in sport
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021


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