5 Stretches That Every Dressage Rider Should Do

These 5 specific stretches will help improve your dressage riding. If you  really want to improve your biomechanics and imbalances on the horse, this is where these specific stretches will benefit you.

Often riders don’t realise the impact their imbalances can have on their horse. When ligaments get tight and stiff they lose their range of motion. They get matted and glued together and affect the way your body moves.


When it comes to stretching in general, too often I see people just doing token stretches here and there. That sort of stretching might make you feel better mentally, but it’s not actually making progress to free up your ligaments.
To improve your body’s range of motion, these stretches need time. To allow the muscles and ligaments to really let go and free up, you need to hold these stretches for a decent period of time, a minimum of 2 minutes per stretch. These stretches aren’t necessarily pleasant either. But when I do them my body responds and I always ride and move better after having done them.

So if you are wanting to improve your riding or just your general posture, try these specific 5 stretches out below and notice how it makes you feel. Do them all daily before you head off to bed or before you go for a ride and notice your rider biomechanics improve over time.


Couch Stretch

This stretch is one of the most beneficial stretches you can do. If you were to do just one stretch, I would suggest this one. Start with your back foot on the ground and place a cushion under your knee if needed. Then as your range of motion improves, place your back foot up on a couch, chair or table. Be sure to tuck in your pelvis and brace your core so you are not arching through your back. Hold this for a minimum of 2 minutes each side.


Hindu Squat

This stretch is amazing for mobility through your hip joints. The Hindu Squat is also great for your digestion and detoxification pathways. Often runners don’t put their limbs through a full range of motion which can cause their achilles tendon, hamstrings and lower back to tighten up. It’s important to ensure your body keeps it’s full range of motion to help improve your running. If you can’t get down low, hold onto a table edge. Then do it daily for at least 2-5 minutes and notice how much you improve.


Internal Hip Stretch

These muscles get incredibly tight from sitting down for long periods. Keeping your hips healthy and mobile is super important for dressage riders. They play a crucial role when you are dressage riding and keeping everything aligned, so you want to work on this stretch also. This stretch will also help improve your Hindu Squat.
You may notice to one side tighter than the other. Start by keeping your foot flat on the floor and push your knee out and your hips down. As you improve let your foot move onto its side and you can come down onto your elbows and hold.



Most runners will know where their ITB is because this is often a problem area and can affect your knee alignment and often leads to knee problems when it gets too tight. Hold this stretch for 2 minutes each side and notice how it frees up your knee as well as your hips.


Swan Pose

This is also great for getting into your ITB as well as your hips. More gentler than the one above, so begin here if need be. Great to help loosen up your glutes and bring more mobility through your hips and lower back too.
Hold for 2 minutes at least each side.


Then download the FREE Dressage Rider Fitness Guide that will give you the exercises & stretches you need to do to improve your riding specifically for dressage.

Download it here.

  • Suzanne Roesler

    thanks, learned some new ones from this post

  • Ann Weber

    Hi, do you recommend to do these stretchings before or after riding ? thanks 🙂

    • Hi Ann, before if you can as this will benefit the ride ahead, but its also great afterwards to as you will be much looser. The key to get real change is consistency and its the accumulative affect it will have on your riding in time. 🙂

  • Windy Donley

    I cant get the downloads – – I have hit the download button dozens of times – but alls I get is the written – downscale version – – I want to download the video’s CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME ON THIS ENDEAVOR.!!!!

    • Hi Wendy, the videos are hosted on youtube and you cannot download these ones on the site. However they are free to access at anytime. 🙂

  • Sarah Hicks

    Hi Nicola, I want to use your program but I have had two total hip replacements with a lot of mobility loss. I am riding again but I need to get more flexible. Do you offer an modifications for people like me? I cannot get into many of the poses and am not sure what is “acceptable”. Thank you!

    • Hi Sarah, great you are interested in our program and we have many participants who complete the program having had hip replacements and yes we do give modifications throughout it. You might like to read some of the reviews here as there are a few in there who have had hip surgery. – http://dressageridertraining.com/reviews/

  • Carterann Kalwara

    Nicola, how long should you hold the internal hip stretch?

    • Hi Carterann, start with just 30 seconds and over time build up to 2 minutes 🙂