Breast pain could be stopping some women from riding, a study has found.
A total of 1,324 women responded to a survey between September and December 2014.
It found that breast pain was the fourth greatest barrier to women riding, behind not having enough energy, time and work commitments.
Forty percent of the respondents also reported having breast pain when riding.
The study was carried out by academics at Sparsholt College and the University of Portsmouth, including biomechanics specialist Dr Jenny Burbage.
Dr Burbage said they decided to research this area as they had heard a lot about it anecdotally.
“We have evidence now that breast pain is quite prevalent in the riding population,” she told H&H.
She also wants to establish the cause of pain and the biomechanics of the effect it has on riding.
The six-part, 32-question survey asked participants about their bra and bra fit, physical activity, breast pain, breast history and demographics.
Almost half of the respondents competed in affiliated regional, national or international-level events and 51% of riders were classified as being large- breasted — having a cup size of “D” or larger.
The study found that pain was “significantly related” to cup size.
The most painful activity was found to be sitting trot and 21% of participants reported that pain affected their performance.
A spokesman for the charity Women in Sport said the research is an “excellent example” of what can be done to improve the sporting experience for women and girls.
“We support any developments that provide insight aimed at unearthing and addressing participation barriers for women and girls in sport,” he said.
“Currently, around two million fewer women than men play sport on a regular basis.”
This was carried out by Sparsholt College masters student Felicity Goater and the University of Plymouth.
Ref: H&H 8 October, 2015