Stretches To Help With Hip Mobility In Dressage Riders

Hip mobility is a vital element in dressage and ensuring you are keeping your hips healthy and mobile is key. Not just for that independent deep seat, but equally too for injury prevention.

Hip mobility in dressage riders allows us to use our hips effectively, yet riders are often extremely tight in this area. Developing hip flexibility means your hips should be mobile and free enough to move in the same rhythm as your horse. You also want enough strength through your pelvis and core to allow your seat bones to get into the saddle and remain stable.

Hip mobility isn’t about doing the splits!

Being flexible and mobile isn’t about being able to do the splits or put your leg around your head!

Instead, it’s about having the right amount of mobility around a stable pelvis. A lack of flexibility is common, especially for riders who may spend a lot of time at a desk or those who are now over 30 years of age. Because, yes, we tend to lose mobility over time.

Hip mobility in dressage riders


It’s relatively easy to understand how diminished hip mobility will affect your performance as a dressage rider. Tight hips can impede your framework and affect the ability to move with your horse. Imbalances between your hip flexibility and strength can also lead to injury and joint pain.

Hips are just one of the areas all dressage riders need to focus on to improve their strength and flexibility. This is regardless of their experience or riding level. This is why we created our DRT System, breaking down the four key elements to improving your riding performance. You can learn about the four key elements here

Dressage is all about you, the rider and the horse. It is a team sport, so we developed a training system for you as a rider. It is designed to help you work on symmetry, balance, coordination and suppleness while OFF the horse. With the aim that when you are riding, you can sit in good posture and control and be able to focus on your horse during that time when you are in the saddle and not hold your horse back from achieving its potential.

Part of being a good rider is having mobile hips. When your hips are tight, it can lead to common issues such as lower back pain, hip pain, bouncing in the saddle, unevenness, and so much more. Problems in the hips aren’t just related to tightness. A hip can be tight and weak while at the same time unbalanced. So it’s not just about stretching; it’s also about strengthening and improving pelvic position and, therefore, your biomechanics.

Healthy hips aren’t just key to your riding too, the everyday ownership of your horse requires freedom and mobility in these joints as well, from picking up hooves to bandages and mucking out or mixing feed bins.


How To Keep Your Hips Healthy And Mobile As A Dressage Rider

Several muscles around your hip area need to be strengthened and focused on for mobility to allow your hip to move correctly. Your hip stabilizer muscles control the range of motion within your hip socket. They need to be strong to maintain correct alignment yet relaxed to allow freedom of movement. It’s this elastic strength we require in dressage.

As riders, we need our hips to stay neutral. So the strength of your quadriceps, hamstrings and hips contributes to an overall balanced leg. This is why exercises that use all these muscles together benefit dressage riders. Equally, one-sided exercises help improve symmetry because it’s very common for us to use one leg more so than the other, which is always easy to notice when you do a rising trot.

Ask yourself, are you rising through both legs evenly?

Is the weight in both stirrups even?

Having exercises that break the two sides of the body up will improve balance, symmetry and strength. Combining all the muscles in the front and behind your legs is great for riders, also. Examples include lunges, toe taps and single legs bridges. Let’s start with a few hip stretches to help improve your hip mobility.

Take a look at this yoga mobility routine here and try it out today. Become aware of where you are tight and where you need to invest some time into. Try doing this routine regularly and notice the impact it has on your overall hip health and suppleness.



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Dressage Rider Training System

To get started on your journey, take a look at our FREE Rider Fitness guide here and discover our system of training. Learn the four elements that go into you as a dressage rider and how you can begin to develop them today.

We have also created a simple training system with our sister site Dressage Horse Training   Learn how to structure your weekly training and see it applied to various horses from young green broke to Grand Prix.

Get the exercises and guidance from a proven training system professional riders use. Learn how to overcome training errors, teach your horse new movements and develop yourself into a confident dressage rider.

The secret to success is following a simple and proven system. So whether you are figuring out how to get started with dressage or a more advanced competitive rider, we cover everything you need to help you with your training at home. No matter where in the world you are based.

Learn how to master the art of dressage horse training, improve your dressage scores and make dressage easier to master.

To get started, check out these articles

How to get started with dressage

How to structure your dressage training for your horse

Dressage for beginners

How to do basic dressage

What is a dressage competition


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