Mentioning Unmentionables.

I’m going to be blunt about sports bras- not trying to offend anyone, (or exclude either of my male readers.) If you work with horses, or dogs for that matter, you should probably be wearing one. The good news is that they have improved!

Note: No one wants to model, or even see a sports bra, so I chose this photo of Clara in her fly sheet. It has that certain look sports bras lack.

Back in the dark ages women were not expected to do anything un-ladylike enough to worry their underwear. Still, they were laced up tight, and elastic hadn’t been invented yet, so I am guessing they were shallow breathers. Early feminists threw away their corsets for a more full lung approach to the world, but I’m not sure how many of them were riders.

Some of us do ride and we can become distracted by a certain contrary wave motion happening in our front torsos. It’s hard to focus on rhythm, and seeking that horse/rider oneness, while some part of your anatomy is jumping up and down, and name-calling in a heckling sort of way.

It was always a challenge, but once I came to dressage, home of the sitting trot, I clearly needed a better solution. Department stores were useless, so I scoured tack catalogs, took my best guess, and placed the order.

That sports bra arrived with not one bit of elastic anywhere. I mounted up and went for a trot. The good news is that there was a graveyard-like stillness on my front torso. The bad news is that nothing else moved either, especially my lungs. Its truss effect also managed to round my shoulders, so now I was riding hunched and clamped and flattened and deflated. But at least the bra was expensive. I went back to buying a size smaller and layering.

That was then, this is now. When I was preparing to start riding my young mare I thought I might buy her a starting present, but I got myself one instead.

I had been getting catalogs from Title Nine and there were pages and pages of sport bras, labeled in ways that were more amusing than offensive. Strength of support is categorized by a barbell symbol. Three barbells should be good for riding. And there is a local store. (Unsolicited opinion, Title Nine does not sponsor me.)

Ever had a ‘fitting’ like this? I am not the sort to volunteer, but someone had to know more than I did. I left my ego at the door and when the clerk said to throw my hands up over my head, I did it with abandon. Not too mono-bosom, not too elastic- I could breathe and move my shoulders. They are less expensive then tack catalog options and returnable for a full year.

I remember when I finally got a new horse trailer. I left the old trailer with the dealer and flew down the road, checking the rear view in happy disbelief. Trailer technology had really improved in 34 years. My old trailer was like dragging a box of rocks.

I guess this new sport bra experience was kind of like that. Two months later, I am on the brink of zealous. So nice to focus on my horse’s movement, stay cool and breathe, simultaneously!

At the risk of too much information, (but why stop now?), I come from a long line of German women who use bras like pockets. It was common to see women pull hankies, cash, keys- you name it- out of their underwear. It’s a good tradition. Frequently I ride alone and I like to keep my phone handy for safety. These new age sports bras can pack along a smart phone. At the trot. Impressive, isn’t it?

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

(Titillation-free zone:  I chose my words carefully in this post. Internet search engines sometimes bring the unwanted visitor looking for that p-word that rhymes with corn. I hope they are very disappointed with my blog.)

Anna Blake

10 thoughts on “Mentioning Unmentionables.”

  1. Oh I so agree, comfortable support for the chest has been a lifelong quest, but finding protection/support for my husband’s, er, delicate areas when he started riding was even more of a problem and he had to resort to the use of an old shoulder pad, strategically placed (unfortunately his horse had a tendency to the odd stumble). If any of your male readers have more up to date recommendations….? On a storage note, I was amused to see an “artistic dressage” rider in a harem oufit on her Arabian horse produce sugar lumps (or similar treats) from her trinket-fringed bra!!

  2. When I was ever so much younger and seriously considering a life in horses, the instructors strongly discouraged me from my passion: Dressage. Seems they felt the sight of my protuberances keeping time to the sitting trot might be distracting. They suggested I concentrate more on jumping. In a way I understood since this was long before the era of support undergarments.
    As far as secondary use as storage, when I show the Salukis, lacking pockets in some of my show clothes, I load the “over the shoulder boulder holder,” and hope the smaller pieces of dehydrated liver don’t migrate too far down. I’m still looking for a “pocket” attachment for that undergarment.

  3. At the risk of being crude and being one of your male readers, I’d like to state firmly that nothing, even carefully worded pamphlets, that come close to talking about women’s bodies leaves the male feeling excluded. Thank you

  4. When I was younger, my endowments were a welcome enhancement. Now that they are no longer needed for that purpose, I yearn for a smaller, more economically sized version. Failing that, something that does not produce the “uni-bosom” would be welcome.
    I remember watching a well-endowed upper level rider at a show years ago, and was honestly concerned that her extended trot might result in knocking her unconscious. 🙂

  5. Last fall I rode with my herding instructor quite a bit. On several occasions she arrived lamenting that she’d forgotten to change into said undergarment before leaving home. It got to the point where I’d call and leave a message in her voice mail that went something like this: Ride at 9. Sports bra!

    ‘Nuff said! 😉

  6. ROFLMAO….read this one out loud to the hubby and had him crying, too. Used to ride in the “double layer” (two sports bras). About 5 years I went for it and… downsized. The smaller, travel size make riding (not to mention everything else) far more comfortable.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.