‘We’re so far behind’: research on groin and seat discomfort and pain in male riders

  • A study on male riders’ groin and seat comfort – or discomfort – could be a step towards improving the situation and helping remove barriers to participation.

    A team from Hartpury University is conducting the research, following on from a study on bra design and fit and breast size, and related barriers to participation, in female riders.

    “On the back of that, we had calls from some of our male students saying ‘Where’s our research, on our barriers and pain issues?’” Victoria Lewis, senior lecturer in equine science at Hartpury, told H&H.

    “Two of our male undergraduates helped create this survey, looking at two areas; pain in the saddle, focusing on the groin-seat area, and looking at the prevalence of pain, and what activities may be increasing that or discomfort while riding.”

    Take the survey

    Ms Lewis said the research will cover whether any pain or discomfort has proved to put men off riding, and will look at types of underwear.

    “As riders we don’t talk about this so we’ve got no idea of the potential scale of the problem, or maybe what people are doing to mitigate, and make riding more comfortable,” she said.

    Initial responses to the questionnaire indicate that riding in a deeper-seated dressage saddle, and doing sitting trot, cause more pain than flatter saddles. Ms Lewis added that there is no underwear specifically designed for male riders, which could be something to come out of this project.

    “There’s been a lot of research in cycling, on these exact issues, but none in riding,” she said. “We need to know about any issues, so we could potentially do more research, which might develop more comfortable, appropriate saddles, or other things that might come in to stop injuries.

    “We need a better idea of what’s going on so we can hopefully develop in these areas, because we’re so far behind compared to other sports.”

    Ms Lewis encouraged as many riders as possible to complete the survey, which is online now.

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