If you’re anything over a size B, you’re probably painfully aware of the importance of wearing the right bra for horse riding. The photo above is actually part of a social campaign from the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, but I’m betting I’m not the only one who’s reminded of my own bra collection! The search for ‘The One’ can seem completely futile, but ladies, the search ends here.
Once again we’ve gone straight to the source and asked our globetrotters for their best recommendations – the bras that have kept their boobs safe and sound on multiple horse riding holidays and lived to tell the tale. Oh, and we’ve also done a bit of research to help you know what you’ll be (cough) getting yourself into.
So What’s in a Bra?
Your precious puppies, that’s what! The first thing you generously proportioned gals should know is that a normal, everyday bra just won’t cut it for comfort and protection in the saddle. Think high impact, low bounce sports bra.
The good news is that the science on breast bounce has progressed in leaps and bounds and there are a wide range of sports bras out there to take the load off. Research has shown that a sports bra can decrease bounce by up to 80%, while even the firmest regular bra can offer only 38%. Less bounce equals increased comfort levels. That translates to better posture and a more relaxed, comfortable and confident rider, which of course translates in turn to a more relaxed, comfortable and confident horse.
So bounce control is key, but the right sports bra is definitely not a one size fits all proposition. Look for a shape and style that you feel comfortable in, breathable fabric, supportive, adjustable straps and make sure you don’t have to become a contortionist just to get in and out of your latest ‘over-shoulder-boulder-holder’. The research suggests that the higher the coverage, the better the bra supports and protects, so even if it’s labelled a ‘sports bra’, avoid a bra that exposes cleavage; it won’t get the job done.
There are two types of sports bra on the market: those that work on compression – they hold both breasts firmly against the chest – and those that work on encapsulation, where each breast is supported individually. Some prefer the compression option, but studies suggest that the encapsulation type offers more support and comfort.
What to look for in the perfect riding bra:
- Band – should be firmer than an everyday bra. It should not move up and down your back during activity.
- Straps – Should not take the weight of your breasts, and should be adjustable.
- Providing it’s well designed, a wireless bra can be just as supportive as an underwire.
- Check for bounce – jump up and down, run on the spot. Your boobs should move with your body, not on their own!
- Make sure you can get the bra on and off without help. Some sports bras, especially the racer back types, can be a challenge for people with shoulder, arm movement or strength issues.
- If at all possible, get your sports bra properly fitted by a qualified fitter. 70% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra! For more on bra fitting, see here.
- If shopping online is your only option, choose your size carefully and make sure the store has a good returns policy.
For our Aussie globetrotters, She Science is your one-stop shop for the best online fittings on the planet (yes, you read that right – online fittings!), THE most knowledgeable and helpful team, and an impressively large range of sports bras on offer. Founded by an equestrian, the SheScience blog has its own advice on choosing a riding bra and a list of all their most popular riding bras. If you’re in Melbourne, you can also book a private fitting with the dedicated bra fitting team in Camberwell.
Our Globetrotters’ Top Three:
Enell – Enell was founded by Renelle Braaton, a large-chested athlete who couldn’t find the right sports bra, so she designed her own. Is it just me or does anyone else see the synchronicity in her name?
But wait, there’s more! Here’s the best of the rest.
With a list like this to choose from, there’ll be heaps more fun for you and your fun bags on your next Globetrotting adventure!
***Oh and don’t forget to check out our GT Apparel online store if you’re keen to invest in some new gear ahead of your ride!
This article was written by Bernadette Kelly, a loyal Globetrotter since 2010, with 16 rides under her belt spanning Africa, South America, Iceland, Europe, The UK, and Australia.