Potential impacts of body image perception in female equestrians

Sophie Forino, Lorna Cameron, Natalie Stones, Marianne Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Female body image (BI) has been investigated in many sports yet, in female-dominated equestrianism, there is a paucity of BI research. This study aimed to identify self-perceptions of BI, rider perceptions of judge and coach bias, relationships between BI and self-consciousness and effect of breast size. A 4-part, 27 question survey (GoogleForms™) was completed by female equestrians (n=493). The second smallest BI was considered ideal for equestrianism (χ2=352.751, P<0.001) regardless of age, own BI or level of riding commitment. There was a perception judges favour riders with smaller frames (χ2=54.2111, P<0.001) and an association between riders with a larger BI feeling self-conscious when riding (χ2 =87.514, P<0.001). More respondents perceived the ideal equestrian BI to be smaller than theirs (Median= -1.5, W=7777.00, P<0.001) and an association between those dissatisfied with their BI and self-consciousness when riding was seen (χ2=83.649, P<0.001). Perception of the ideal equestrian frame is smaller than many riders' own BI, and a larger BI perception negatively impacts self-confidence, potentially hindering performance and participation. Female riders with a larger frame feel they are perceived negatively by judges and further study is indicated to investigate the extent of this potential bias on subjective judging in equestrian disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Sep 2021

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