BACKGROUND: Anecdotal reports state body composition, specifically fat free mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM), is crucial to equestrian athlete performance. Having a lower FM while keeping increased necessary FFM to maintain strength needed for riding. In collegiate equestrian, there are two disciplines of riding: English and Western, which might reveal a difference in body composition. The purpose of this study was to determine any differences between English and Western riders when it comes to body composition. METHODS: The University of South Carolina collegiate Equestrian team (N=31, age=20.13±1.26 years) underwent body composition testing using air displacement plethysmography. The athletes were instructed to arrive >3 hours fasted and without vigorous exercise prior to their visit. FFM, FM percentage, and body mass index (BMI) were calculated and compared between English (N=15) and Western (N=16) riders using a two tailed t-test with the significance standard at P<0.05. RESULTS: English riders averaged 44.81 ± 2.97 kg for FFM, FM percentage of 25.31 ± 5.06%, and a BMI of 21.29 ± 2.24kg/m2. Western athletes averaged 44.35 ± 4.18 kg FFM, FM of 28.34 ± 6.17%, and a 22.33 ± 4.27kg/m2 BMI. There was no significant differences between English and Western riders for FFM, FM, and BMI (P>0.05).CONCLUSIONS: Although there were not any statistically significant differences between the two groups, knowing the baseline body composition of the athletes is crucial. This can help keep the riders healthy and work towards increasing FFM throughout the season providing a benchmark beginning point. This research promotes future differential findings between English and Western equestrian athletes to drive peak performances and optimal body composition based on discipline.

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