Equestrian Workouts To Improve Your Riding

Here are some great equestrian workouts. Whether you are a dressage rider, show jumper, eventer, or simply someone who loves to hack out over the weekend, here is an introduction to equestrian workouts that will improve your riding and overall fitness.

Having some form of fitness in the saddle is important for all equestrians, not just for the extra stamina and fitness, but also for the suppleness and stability you need to feel secure in the saddle. That’s why I have dedicated this entire website to equestrian workouts and educational articles to help you improve your riding fitness while off the horse.

Riding is a great form of movement, and the general up keep of horses means you are most likely active every day. This is fantastic! However, how you are performing as a rider is often overlooked.

Equestrian Workouts To Improve Your Riding


Improving your equestrian fitness

Today I want to share with you some equestrian workouts that can help improve your riding.

As riders, we all know that riding is a physical activity that requires strength, balance, and flexibility. It’s not just about sitting on a horse and asking it to go forward; it’s about using your body effectively to communicate with the horse and ride it to the best of your ability.

That’s why it’s essential to incorporate workouts into your routine that target the specific muscles used in riding. Not only will this help you become a better rider, but it will also help prevent injury and improve your overall fitness.

So without further ado, let’s dive into some equestrian workouts! Watch the full video at the bottom of the page for a quick demonstration of each of the exercises.

T upper locusts

Improving your upper body position is a great place to start and by strengthening our posture off the horse, we strengthen it on the horse too. Try these exercises out to get started. Laying down on your tummy, press your feet into the ground and squeeze your bottom to support your lower back. Then bring your hands out wide to make a T shape with the body. Tuck your chin to lengthen the back of your neck and lift and lower your arms and chest as one. Repeat 10 times.

Equestrian Workouts To Improve Your Riding

A Upper locust

Set up like above, but this time you are making a A shape with your arms and torso. Bring your thumbs towards your side and externally rotate your shoulders to pull your shoulder blades together and to open your chest. Then try pulsing your arms here in this position. Aim for 20 pulses, rest and repeat.


Laying on your tummy still this time lift opposite arm to your leg. Ensure you keep engaging your glutes and really lift and reach from your armpit to your finger tips. Lift at the rate of your breathe and lower again. Repeat 10 on each side.

Equestrian Workouts To Improve Your Riding

Horse stance supermans

Like the supermans before, but this time with a little more of a challenge. Your aim is to lift opposite arm to your leg, but keep your back and torso as still as possible. Imagine a glass of water on your back and try and not any of it drip onto your tshirt.


Equestrian Workouts To Improve Your Riding


Laying on your back this time, have your feet about hip distance apart and reach your hands towards your feet. Then using your glutes lift your hips up off the ground and lower again. Repeat this 10 times.

Equestrian Workouts To Improve Your Riding

Single leg bridges

Laying on your back like before, but this time add in the challenge by lifting one leg. Try and keep your hips even as you push through the grounded foot to lift hips up off the ground and lower again. Repeat this 10 times on each side.


Flutter kicks

Laying on your tummy again, a great exercise to continue to develop those glutes. Bring your hands to your forehead and let it rest down. Then lift your legs from your hip joint and quickly flutter them like you are swimming.

Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can help improve your riding by targeting the specific muscles used in riding. However, it’s essential to remember that riding is a skill, and these exercises alone won’t make you a better rider.

To become a better rider, you must spend time in the saddle developing that skill, working on your communication with your horse and overall technique. But by incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can improve your strength, balance, and flexibility, which will ultimately help you improve your skills at becoming a better rider and make the process much faster due to your fitness levels.

Additionally, listening to your body and not pushing yourself too hard is essential. Start with fewer reps or sets and gradually increase as your fitness level improves.

Incorporating some equestrian workouts into your routine can also benefit your overall health and fitness. Horse riding is a physically demanding sport that requires a lot of strength and stamina. You can improve your overall health and well-being by improving your fitness through specific targeted workouts. And this is what I specialise in. Taking away the guess work and providing you with the tools you need to enhance your riding performance.

You can spend all your time thinking about your horse’s health, how they are performing, what they are eating, and getting the balance right within their training schedule. Yet as riders, we often forget to pay attention to our own fitness. So by incorporating specific equestrian workouts into your routine can help improve your riding by targeting the specific muscles used in riding.

By combining riding with targeted workouts, you can improve your strength, stamina and suppleness, which will ultimately help you become a better rider and improve your overall health and well-being.

Here is a summary video demonstrating each of the movements in this great short workout. For more do check out the rest of our site and our 12 week online program, designed specifically for riders. Learn all the details here



Workouts specific to equestrians

Taking care of yourself as a rider isn’t just about fitness. It’s about ensuring you are using your body correctly to prevent injury and can continue to ride for many years. It’s not just about being fit. Alignment is crucial for both horse and rider, as is our posture and balance.

The common thread amongst all equestrian disciplines is the ability to move with your horse and be stable in the saddle. This requires you to have strong core control, balance and coordination.

Then you must ensure your posture and alignment are helping you prevent undue wear and tear. Just like horses have one side they find easier, so do we as riders your role when you are off the horse is to ensure you are doing your best to work on your posture and alignment so that when you are riding and you add the forces of the horse’s movement to your body, you aren’t creating any extra stress which can lead to injury later on.

Our environment and how we move each and every day affects our posture. So no matter your riding discipline, pay attention to your alignment and have a look at this article here. Then be sure to get an understanding of neutral spine and apply this to your activities and daily life off the horse. Learn exercises to improve your riding skills and develop your posture.

Even if your goal isn’t to win a championship title, staying injury free so you can enjoy your horse riding for many years to come should be important to you.



Improving your equestrian fitness with specific workouts

Riding generally requires a specific form of stamina, stability and suppleness to do it well. Your body requires good core muscle strength to help you stabilize well in the saddle. Specific strength training that targets your core stability will help with posture and improve your confidence in the saddle.

The lifestyle we lead when caring for horses can take a toll on the body if it doesn’t have adequate posture and stability to protect its joints. Stacking bales, carrying buckets of water, lifting saddles, and general riding is all movement for our body.

As riders, it’s not that we need to be able to do extreme workouts, Olympic lifts or splits. However, an equestrian workout routine specific to your unique requirements as a rider is important. This is what I am dedicated to bringing you. Horse riding is in my blood and with my degree in Physical education and sport science along with my scientific core and back training I am narrowed down what makes us equestrians unique. This entire site provides you with the tools to improve your riding.

My passion is dressage, but what I share applies to all disciplines; you only have to read all the reviews from our members who do our program to find out the results it delivers.

So to get yourself started, download our free guide with tips on what you can do today.

Want more help with your riding?

Along with this unique strength and stamina comes a need for suppleness and mobility in the saddle. Here are a selection of some of my favourite stretches for equestrians here…


Wishing you all the best with your riding!


Dressage Horse training

We have 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


The Ultimate

Dressage Rider Training Program

Join other participants on our 12-week 'step-by-step' online rider
training program. Improve the 5 components of your riding.

Only available 3x per year.

see full details & register your interest