Riding Through Life With Greater Comfort
Karin Pekarchik, the senior extension associate for distance learning within University of Kentucky’s (UK) Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, recently conducted a study on bra use and health outcomes in female equestrians. Here, she shares what she learned.
Equestrianism, a significant part of the horse industry, is important to the existing social fabric and continued economic success of Central Kentucky, yet little research exists on equestrian health and wellness. Most research is conducted on the horse, and when it focuses on the rider, it is usually something major—concussions, fractures, falls, or death. But what about day-to-day issues that impact riding, such as aching backs, a lack of time to ride, and, for female riders, poorly fitting bras and breast pain? A deeper understanding and improved awareness of female equestrian health and wellness issues, motivations, and perceptions are important because they legitimize the mental, physical, and social challenges faced by equestrians.
To address this gap, I conducted a research survey as part of my master’s thesis in UK’s Community and Leadership and Development Department in the spring of 2017 to gauge female equestrians’ attitudes toward health and wellness, with a focus on breast pain and
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