No woman likes their period and equestrians have it hard just as much as any other athlete, maybe more because you are also dealing with a 1000 pound animal. Your period can affect your riding more than you think.
But Can you ride a horse on your period? It is okay to ride a horse on your period generally, but your riding will be affected. You need to take into consideration what your typical period is like and take precautions. If your symptoms are bad enough you may want to wait to ride. It will be hard to focus on the horse and could put you in a bad situation
Periods are a pain in the butt. I have looked into ways to make that annoying time of the month less annoying for my fellow equestrian women. I also learned some things about our period and how it can affect our bodies, which will affect our riding.
Riding Horses While On Your Period
Though riding horses while on your period is okay, periods affect women differently.
When riding on your period you have to worry about the most obvious bleeding. Of course, you won’t go riding without coverage in that department but sometimes overflow can happen.
If you happen to overflow that can not only stain your expensive riding breeches which you probably only have so many pairs of, but it could also stain the saddle.
Unfortunately, I have experienced that situation before. Luckily it was my own saddle because if it was anyone else’s saddle I would have been even more embarrassed.
I was also really lucky because I was able to get it out quick enough.
Not only do you have to worry about blood and the horrible stomach bloating, but you also have to worry about painful cramps.
How many of you girls have had cramps that made you want to fold over as your writhing in pain, looking for a pillow to hug? Kind of hard to do when you’re cantering your horse on a circle.
However, your cramps might not be as bad when riding because when you raise your heart rate from exercise, it can help relieve period cramps.
Another thing you may experience while riding on your period is not only just feeling gross, but you are also more susceptible to getting frustrated, angry or upset when you are riding. Which is not fair to your horse and not fun for you.
The tiredness is a factor while riding too and this is caused by a decrease in oestrogen levels. It only lasts a few days but it can affect your riding
Dull lower back pain can also be a problem when you are on your period. Oh, and migraines are a thing too. As if period cramps weren’t enough
And don’t forget the smell. Periods smell disgusting in my opinion. Can the horses smell your period? Yes and so can everyone else when they are close enough.
Thinking of all these issues makes me almost want to skip the barn during my period… almost. I love riding and horses too much so I just deal with it and try to find ways to make the experience less unpleasant.
What You Might Not Know About How Your Period Can Affect Your Riding
If you have ridden on while on your period in the past did you notice a difference in your riding? By that, I don’t mean the obvious, that has been mentioned. Do your ankles feel like they aren’t as stable?
I mentioned oestrogen earlier that it can make you feel tired. Well, it can also increase the elasticity of joints as well.
You are more likely to hyperextend your joints or even possibly dislocate a joint because of the increase in oestrogen.
Oestrogen, the hormone that repairs and thickens the uterus lining during menstruation, can increase the elasticity of joints in the days before ovulation. This can lead to ACL problems, which occur if a knee or lower leg is twisted. It can also lead to bone injuries, as oestrogen helps develop strong, dense bones.BBC Sport
I am adding this bit in here. The next day after publishing this post I was on my period and going for a walk with the family. Just to give some proof to the point of the loose joints.
I rolled my ankle while on the walk. Which is not a common occurrence. It really hurt and the next day my ankle was sore and swollen. But it was kind of funny the coincidence of writing about hyperextending and loose joints during my period the day before and then it happened to me.
Can You Ride Horses With A Tampon In?
Yes, you can ride horses while wearing a tampon. There is no reason not to wear a tampon while you are riding. Just make sure that you change your tampons throughout the day.
The only risk would be if you have really strong pelvic muscles, it has been said that it is possible to accidentally push the tampon out.
That would most likely not be the norm for most women though.
Which Is Best While Horseback Riding Pad, Tampon or Menstrual Cup?
I have never used a menstrual cup but according to my research women who use it like it better than a pad or a tampon when they are horseback riding.
The cup is made of silicone material and goes in your vagina similar to how a tampon does. Instead of absorbing the blood like a tampon or pad, it collects the blood into the cup.
It does not spill over and lines the vagina wall so that it doesn’t leak. You can leave it in for up to 12 hours, unlike pads or tampons which have to be changed several times a day.
Sorry for the visuals. I know periods are gross.
Many riders like to wear tampons because it feels more sanitary than a pad and is more common than the cup. Tampons are also a better option over pads because pads can move around, which could cause potential leaks through your breeches.
But you should make sure you are using the correct sized tampon. If it is too small and not absorbent enough, you could end up with a leak.
I have used pads before and been fine but, it feels pretty gross and like I mentioned you risk the pad moving and potentially staining your breeches or worse the saddle.
If you wear a pad it is best to use the ones without wings just because the wings can rub the sides of your groin and cause sores. Although without the wings the pad won’t be as secure. So either way, a pad alone isn’t the best.
Can Horses Sense When You Are On Your Period?
Horses can smell you are on your period. They have a strong sense of smell and would be able to smell the blood. They can also smell hormones and pheromones.
The smells of being on your period are a sign that you are not in season for mating. Not that a stallion would necessarily want to do that to a human. Just because you are on your period doesn’t mean the horses are going to act any differently.
Most people report no changes in their horse’s behavior.
I have experienced working with a stallion and he did get pushier with me trying to smell my crotch area. It was kind of embarrassing actually and as I put him in his stall.
He pressed my shoulder down with his muzzle and was acting like he was going to mount. I don’t know if it was a coincidence. But I got out of that stall pretty darn quick.
I didn’t have an incident like that again working with that horse.
How Do You Horseback Ride On Your Period?
When you have your period take it easier than you would normally ride.
You may be more tired, have less patience, feel uncomfortable, and your joints will be more prone to overstretching.
You are more likely to make mistakes and get frustrated. Lower your expectations and work on things you know you can succeed at.
Instead of being in a bad mood because you can’t ride or focus as well, try to turn the situation into a reason to take it easy and have fun.
Maybe take a break from training and go on some hacks in the field or on the trails.
Horse Riding With A Heavy Period
If you tend to have very heavy periods and you are going horseback riding, you need to make sure you have extra coverage.
All I have to say is go double with pad and tampon or cup. You will feel safer and more confident, instead of worrying the whole time that you might possibly leak.
Like I said I never used a menstrual cup but if I was using one I would definitely wear a pad or at least a panty liner.
Otherwise, wear a heavy absorbent tampon and a thin full-sized pad with no wings to help prevent rubs. This is just my recommendation.
Equestrian Period Hacks
- If you are wearing a pad make sure your underwear material allows the pad to stick securely. Some underwear material for whatever reason doesn’t let the pad stick well at all.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water before riding because the fluid you lose from your period can cause you to become dehydrated and when you add exercise to the mix you are losing even more liquid from sweating.
- For cramping and back pain along with some ibuprofen try using Thermacare heat wraps. It is basically a patch that activates upon contact with air and heats up.
- Have a designated pair or pairs of riding breeches, that are dark-colored and a size up. To accommodate bloating and potentially hide stains.
- Create a period emergency kit. Keep spare underwear, tampons, pads, hand sanitizer and baby wipes in your tack trunk or in your vehicle.
- Tuck in the tampon string to prevent the string from rubbing uncomfortably while you are riding.
- Use a period tracker app for your phone. This way you can wear panty liners around the time your period may start so you’re not caught off guard and you can save the embarrassment and disappointment of staining your breeches.
Did you find this article helpful? Check these out:
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- 9 Powerful Ways You Can Restore Your Confidence Riding Horses
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- 7 Reasons Moms Should Horseback Ride as a Hobby!