Understanding Bra Fitting and Bra Features to improve your riding
By Tish Monahan, founder of Sports Bra Store, She Science
FIND US AT EQUITANA John Deere Pavilion, Stand 128
Anecdotally we understand that breasts and horse-riding haven’t always paired well together, but it wasn’t until recently that we truly understood the nature of this barrier to participation. A study that was conducted on over 1300 female horse riders demonstrated 40% of participants experience breast pain in the saddle, with 21% reporting that is affected their riding. The conclusion was made that education regarding bra fitting and breast support was required in order to improve the comfort and performance of female riders.
The most important thing to get right when you are purchasing a bra is the fit. You could be in the most expensive bra with the greatest online reviews but if the bra doesn’t fit you perfectly it has no chance of functioning well.
Here are my tips to buying your best Sports Bra for horse riding:
- Know where the support comes from.
It’s actually the band that runs around the ribcage that is responsible for stabilising breast tissue and decreasing breast displacement (bounce!). If this band is too loose then the band will ride up and down your back and the front will follow in a see-saw effect. This leads to out of control breast displacement during activity. This is the component of most bra fittings that women often get wrong, and it is the most important part to get right. Knowing that this band needs to fit firmly in order for it to sit securely and stay in place will put you in good stead when it comes to finding your best bra.
- Coverage is key
The breast moves in three directions when we are riding. It moves in and out, side to side and up and down. The up and down movement is the most excessive movement. This vertical pattern of movement must be controlled in order to reduce your overall breast displacement when riding. Along with getting the right bra fit, coverage is the next most important feature to look at to control this movement. A bra that exposes cleavage will often provide an escape route for soft breast tissue during activity.
- Shoulder straps and posture for horse riding
The shoulder straps are important, we’d be in trouble without them, but they are often relied on too much. The shoulder straps are there to add stability, not to take the weight of the breast. A mistake often made which significantly impacts ones riding posture is pulling the shoulder straps to tightly which causes us to roll our shoulders and hunch forward, making it impossible to sit tall in the saddle and ride with the correct hand position. This over-tightening of straps often coincides with the ribcage band being too loose, and the wearer then feeling the need to tighten the straps to compensate.
- Shape, Style and How your Jacket sits
I can certainly tell you that shape is subjective. Some people want a flattened look under their jacket and others prefer a more well defined and shapely look. I find that in many cases this will depend also on the fit of one’s jacket.
To achieve a flattened look which could work best under jackets that possibly fit too tightly, then a bra that compresses the breast tissue down will work best. These are typically non underwire bras, and will result in more of a ‘uni-boob’ look. Some popular options for this are the D+ Classic, Enell Sport or Jubralee.
For those looking for a more shapely look that still offers great support then a bra with underwire and a moulded cup will be most effective. This style will leave the wearer with a more defined and lifted ‘two boob’ look. Great examples of this are the Ultimate Performance, Panache Sport and Epic Sports Bra.
Some of our best rated Sports Bra’s for horse-riding
JUNO, available C – E cup
ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE, available C – E cup
D+ CLASSIC, available D – H cup
MOMENTUM, available D – G cup
ENELL SPORT, available approx. D – J cup
A bit about She Science
She Science is Australia’s only Sports Bra Store. We specialise in the fitting and prescription of technical Sports Bras for cup sizes A – J and band sizes 6 – 24. Our range is sourced from 12 industry leading brands from around the world, with over 40 styles to choose from.
In store we offer a comprehensive bra fitting service, optional treadmill wear testing and the use of the motion analysis software to assist us in finding each customer their best Sports Bra.
Our full range is also available online for those shopping from interstate.
Tish is the co-founder and director of She Science, a Specialty Sports Bra and Sports Wear store in Melbourne. Tish has completed Advanced Bra Fitting training both locally and internationally as well as tertiary education in biomechanics. She follows the latest research on breast biomechanics and Sports Bra design religiously to ensure that She Science remains the most advanced Sports Bra shopping environment in the world. Tish views her Sports Bra business as a vehicle for her to inspire and enable women of all shapes and sizes to participate actively in life. Find Tish online via @SheScience.