Keeping the girls in line

You knew I was going to get around to it.

Talking about something essential to most women riders.

58  AMAZONE  16X12





No, not dogs really, just bras.

Unlike Pug bunny ears, bras are an essential piece of equipment for a lady rider.

(Similarly ignored but essential is this.)



(See post from the winter: )

Anyway, never mind the cute pictures above–though entertaining–I lead you again to some relevant science and the New York Times today:

Apparently the runners are ahead of us yet again in getting down to what’s really happening when you take unsupported chest appendages and bounce them around over many miles. (They used cameras and treadmills.)

(FYI. Did you know the first sports bra, made mid-seventies was actually not called the Jogbra, but the Jockbra?  It was created with the idea of two jock straps knitted together to create, well something. . . we hope it was helpful.)

Things have improved somewhat over the years, and now we at least have brightly colored instruments of torture to strap on–and models to look pleased about the whole thing:


(This is actually supposed to be a pretty good item–though I have not tried one.  You can get it from

Anyway, there are two popular methods of securing the ladies.




Encapsulation is making some version of little coffins for the breasts and adhering those to the chest.

Compression, as we all know, is smashing two breast flat, into the uniboob position.

A mamogram in the other direction if you will.

These two methods, by themselves, are helpful for yoga classes and can be thought of as the low security wing of the women’s penitentiary.

But even the runners will admit that riding–particularly the sitting trot–is a high impact activity.   Just wishing for stability does not make it happen.  All methods available should be used.

Here is how to do it, without making yourself so miserable in the tack up and barn work that you are going to wish never to ride again.

Please note: In all that I say below the items in your kit should fit very well.  They should be tolerable in the dressing room, if not super-comfortable. It does not matter what they look like.  They have to feel okay.  Don’t be shy about letting the fitting people give advice about the best “one of type” for you.


1. Start with an under layer:


In this case the model is showing you two of them, which you can do, they are cheap.  Several companies make them.  This one is the Rhonda Shear Ahh Bra and can be gotten from  a place called Her Room.

(The Walcoal  version is better, but a lot more expensive)

In this bra you could possibly walk quietly to the grocery store without embarrassment.  It offers no support, neither compression nor encapsulation.

It is a layer.

As noted, this first layer is useless for riding–but it will stop your other outer and more functional bras from driving you crazy.

Never mind wearing these will give you something still on–when in the car on the way home you strip off those high impact outer bras that I am going tell you about.

Also good if you are arrested–which you will be if you try to take off the one below while driving.  Don’t do it.



So, anyway you have not done anything foolish, you are going to ride and you have the under layer on.  The girls are not yet in the penitentiary, but you would like them to be.

2. You strap a nice hook style encapsulation bra on top of the first layer.


A layering of course that the bra companies will not show you, the myth being that these more robust items are comfortable next to your skin while sweating.  (They are not.)

Encapsulation achieved.

Then, depending on how you are built, you grab a third item,

3. A compression style bra–hopefully with a front closure.  (Thinking about the future is something you should do.)


Strap that outer layer on.

This one is called Under Armor, but there are many styles.

Anyway, there you go.  Protection, encapsulation and compression–all at once.  Never mind the end result is some degree of modesty, comfort, and really pretty good stability.  All in a process easily reversed so you can go about your day after riding  without hiding in a rest room and wrestling off sweaty entrapments.

Never, ever, buy one of those super-tight sports bras that you can only get on by squeezing it over your head like a sausage casing.  There will be a day, dressing in a hurry right after a shower, when you will 100% regret it.

Highly specific behaviors you do over and over.

This from the New York Times this morning, an article oddly enough from the business section:  Tony Schwartz

He’s talking about the practice of doing short, intense, focused workouts, as it relates to employment.  (How to not  check in on Facebook every ten minutes but really focus for a period–and then really take a break.)

Mr. Schwartz writes:

“So what’s the trick to overcoming our resistance to pushing ourselves really hard, even for short periods?”

“The answer is fierce prioritization in the form of rituals. Set up highly specific behaviors you do over and over at precise times so they become automatic as quickly as possible and no longer require conscious intention. As the authors Roy Baumeister, Charles Duhigg and others have written, the more we have to think consciously about doing something, the more rapidly we deplete our severely limited reservoir of will and discipline.”

Hmmm. . . . “highly specific behaviors you do over and over at precise times so they become automatic as quickly as possible. . . .” 

“fierce prioritization in the form of rituals.”

That would be just like training dressage. . .

Walk on long reins

Warm up trot

Shoulder in left and right

Freshen the trot

Half pass left and right


Counter canter

Half pass in canter

Flying changes left and right



Medium canter

Extended trot

Back to the barn.

(Every single day at the same time.)

“the more we have to think consciously about doing something, the more rapidly we deplete our severely limited reservoir of will and discipline.”

It really does help to do the same thing every day, and if possible at the same time.  If your horse is not ready for the advanced movements in their slots, do things that will eventually prepare them for those movements.

Might be as simple as collect the gait and then send them forward without abandoning the frame. 

Wait a moment, every one of those movements above is just that!

Hmmm. . . . “highly specific behaviors you do over and over at precise times so they become automatic as quickly as possible. . . .” 

Practice, practice, practice!