Whether you’re getting ready to get back in the saddle this year, or want to be ready for your upcoming shows, these seven ways to get fit can help you to become a more effective horseback rider.

There’s no denying the fact that equestrians are athletes. As athletes, we need to get as physically fit as possible. When riders are physically fit, they are better able to control their bodies and communicate with their horses. Riders also stand a better chance at staying on the horse during a buck or spook, thanks to their muscle strength. Finally, physically fit riders can be more effective than unfit riders.

With so many benefits to being a physically fit rider, what are you waiting for? Consider these seven ways to get fit for horseback riding.


Go Running

Running can be a great activity for horseback riders. Running strengthens your leg muscles, and by concentrating on your posture while you run, you can also use the time to train yourself to sit up straight and keep your shoulders back.

As a bonus, running is a cardio activity, which can improve your breath control.



Go Swimming

Swimming is a relatively low-impact activity that provides an excellent workout. Swimming is ideal when you have an injury that won’t hold up to higher-impact activities, like running.

Swimming, even just for a short time each day, can build up your strength and endurance without taking a toll on your body.



Take a Bike Ride

Consider heading out on a bike ride as another way to get physically fit. Bike riding can help to develop your leg strength, especially if you find some hills to ride up.

Just don’t forget to wear a helmet!




If you have mountains or great hiking trails nearby, grab a friend and head out for a hike. Hiking develops your muscle strength and can help to improve your balance as you work your way over different terrain.

Make sure to bring along water and snacks, and wear appropriate shoes.




Don’t forget to include a good amount of stretching with your exercise regimen. Always stretch before and after exercising to reduce your chance of injury and to keep your muscles limber.

Remember to stretch before and after you ride, too – stretching before a ride can make a big difference in your comfort and effectiveness during the ride.

Be sure not to forget the equestrian’s favorite stretch – stand on stairs, drop your heels down, and let your weight drop down into the heels. Do this stretch religiously and you’ll be better able to drop your heels down in the saddle.



Do Specific Exercises

Don’t forget to include some specific exercises meant to target the muscles that you use most as an equestrian. You’re sure to benefit from exercises that target your core, such as planking. You can also use balancing exercises to improve your balance.

Even the simple act of lifting hay bales or water buckets can help to build your strength.




You’ll love this tip – ride. As you’re trying to improve your fitness, focus on also riding more often to become a stronger rider. Make a riding schedule and stick to it. Too much for one horse? See if there’s another horse in your barn that would benefit from some exercise and offer to ride him as well.

The more that you can do to get yourself physically fit, the better a rider you’re likely to become. Plus, you’ll feel good about yourself and parts of riding (such as keeping your leg secure or getting into two-point) will become easier.


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