FYI / FWO
Have no idea how Solei & I got around to the subject of finding the right bra for riding. She has an ample bosom, and her shoulders were aching about a half hour into one of our rides. I wear a D cup, and until I discovered the joys of a "no bounce bra" was miserable too. I was happy to share what I had learned when I did a lot of volunteering for the Ramona Trails Pony Club.
The problem of too much up front? Shoulder, neck & chest pain was my riding reality. Posture was difficult to maintain & slumping in the saddle to avoid bounce is NOT a style a rider should develop. The thought of trotting, let alone a nice canter, with endowment flopping just that little half second behind the rest of your body, slamming you in the chin & chest, was a nightmare. When I was riding my half arab, who could keep up that bone jarring little jog for miles, I was in misery. I would do anything to get my mare to simply walk - mainly, to end the nonstop bounce up front. No matter the horse I rode, it got so bad that I found myself seriously avoiding some rides, because of the bounce factor.
Let's face it - with age, a bosom sags. Gravity pulls the tissues towards the ground as skin loses its elasticity. Woman with larger breasts get to enjoy the pull of gravity more than women with smaller appendages. But with time, the sag effect happens to all of us. If you figure an average C cup breast weighs anywhere from 2 to 5 lbs, and a D or above cup weighs more, imagine a couple of 5 lb. sacs of sugar attached to your chest. If you had to transport them while on a horse, you'd want to put them in a saddle bag, for heavens sake! For Old Gray Mare riders, finding VERY supportive bras is a necessity!
The experts tell us that a good sport bra minimizes breast movement in one of two ways: By compression, where the breasts are held against the chest to limit motion; or encapsulation, in which the bra surrounds & supports the breasts. Some bras uses both techniques and if you want to eliminate bounce when you ride? Find a bra that does both!
My personal quest took me to the Moving Comfort line of sport bras. It's a misnomer, as the miracle works by NOT allowing much breast movement. Their FIONA bra is my best friend and I will say that strapping into it is like putting on armor, but well worth the effort. Once on, it's ON and absolutely NOTHING bounces.
The "cons" of such supportive bras is that they tend to be well built and aren't as open as a standard bra so on a hot day, perspiration can be a problem. However, the well built models are made from fabrics that really do keep perspiration and chafing at a minimum. Overall? I prefer coming home from a ride a little damp in the front & pain free with optimal support vs. the alternative.
Some of these bras are on the pricy side, but bargain savvy women can ALWAYS find a deal. One thing I did - bought 6 of the bras when I found a GREAT sale on them and use them ONLY when riding. Yes, I take special care of them. My half dozen friends are still working just fine & I've had them for over 4 years now.
As for Solei? She went shopping and found a super supporting sports bra that really worked for her & she's now a happy camper. And she's riding more these days too!
For More Information
I Am Strong, I
Am Invincible, I Am WOMAN....
Use a Mounting Block - Ok, it's a shame that we just can't fling ourselves up and over into a saddle with ease any longer. So what? If you're straining your joints & muscles and end up with an injury just getting into the saddle, you won't be riding much! Plastic mounting blocks aren't that expensive, compared to doctor bills. If you're on a budget, get some sturdy wood, a hammer/nails and get busy! Here's photos of the block I made from 2" x 6" scraps. Nothing fancy, but it works!
One word of caution - if you use a mounting aid, PLEASE use something sturdy as unsafe substitutes can create injuries too. It's NOT a good idea to flip a bucket over & use it as a mounting block, ladies!
Got an Ache? Wear a Brace - Have you noticed that after a ride you're looking for the aspirin bottle so your knees can function without pain as soon as you dismount? Try a knee brace - Gail SWEARS by hers! Knee braces are worn to support a painful or injured knee joint, and made from combinations of metal, foam, plastic, elastic material and straps. Braces can help by supporting the knee, which is one of the most active joints when riding. When wearing a brace, make sure that the brace hinges are aligned where the knee bends. Check the placement of the brace once mounted to make sure that it hasn't moved & is in the proper position.
The same goes for any supportive brace that helps other body parts. Lower back braces, wrist/arm braces, neck braces, etc. All will help keep you in the saddle & help to prevent pain. Are they attractive? Who cares!
I LOVE My EZ Haul Cart - As a horse owner, you are also
waste remover, so dealing with the bounty of road apples and how to move them is
EZ Haul Carts are expensive, but well
worth the investment. They have a low center of gravity that
reduces stress and strain on humans, especially to the lower back.
It IS an investment to buy a new one, but if you ever get the chance to
buy a used on that needs some work, by all means go for it! That's
how I got my Jumbo Cart - the frame was fine but the plastic bucket a
mess. The company sells replacement parts so after the purchase of
a new bucket and flat-proof tires, we're in business. The cart is
used daily and holds two stalls worth of muck that I can wheel
around with ease. A suggestion is to invest in the puncture proof tires. We NEED them in AZ but they work great anywhere!
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