One in three riders quit due to menopause

a horse and rider showjumping - how does menopause effect riders.

In a survey of more than 1,600 riders, it was discovered that one in three female riders stop riding totally or temporarily when they hit the perimenopause and menopause.

The research by Level 4 UKCC dressage coach and saddle fitter Stephanie Bradley won the first prize at last week’s Alltech Hartpury Conference for the oral presentation of her study Effects of the perimenopause and menopause on female riders, and the research will now feature in a scientific journal.

Stephanie’s research forms part of her Masters degree that she is undertaking at the University of Gloucester, and found that 68% found their motivation was negatively affected and many said they had less confidence. Surprisingly, only 50% felt able to discuss their issues with a female coach.

“I was thrilled to win first prize at the Alltech Hartpury Conference for my oral presentation, not least because I faced some very stiff competition,” said Stephanie.

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“Thanks to all those who organised and sponsored the event which enables the valuable sharing of academic research.”

Female riders were also asked about saddle fitting and the menopause. One of five said their experience had been affected, most of those explaining that their saddle suddenly become uncomfortable or that they felt more anxious about riding.

“I hope coaches and support teams, be they official or unofficial, will find the results helpful, in raising awareness and supporting riders,” Stephanie said.

“For the trade, and the wider industry, it will clearly have a positive impact if we can keep women in the saddle for longer.”

Menopause and perimenopause symptoms include anxiety, changes in mood (low mood and irritability), changes in skin condition (including the onset of adult acne), insomnia and feelings of loss of self worth. In addition, women can develop urinary incontinence, palpitations and hot flushes, amongst other symptoms.

In a recent episode of the podcast Poles, Piaffe & Prosecco, minuet coach Jenni Winter-Leach of Flying Changes spoke at length about the challenges facing riders in this stage of life, and recommended that women suffering symptoms spoke to their doctors and acknowledged their symptoms.

Katie Gilmour is the host of Poles, Piaffe & Prosecco: the podcast for riders that love to train, laugh and drink prosecco! The podcast is free to listen to on Spotify and all major podcast platforms.

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