The issue causes significant numbers to stop riding.

One in three female riders stop riding totally or temporarily when they hit the perimenopause and menopause.

The alarming statistic was discovered by Steph Bradley, winner of 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.

Hundreds of women contacted Steph, an SMS Master Saddle Fitter based at Freedom Saddlery near Chester, to share their feelings about their equestrian lives during the menopause.

The study was part of a Master’s degree in coaching that Steph, a Level 4 UKCC dressage coach, is undertaking via the University of Gloucestershire.

Saddle fitting and menopause

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 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 Steph.

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

Steph has received many messages of thanks for addressing the hitherto taboo subject of riding during the menopause.

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

Stephanie Bradley won first prize for the oral presentation of her study Effects of the perimenopause and menopause on female riders during the Alltech Hartpury Conference.