Heather Bush, NPCT and Club Pilates Instructor demonstrates three exercises that can make a big difference in your riding by achieving a more proper, secure, and effective posture through Pilates for Equestrians!

When you saddle up, you’re making a physical commitment to your body and your horse, a commitment that requires strength, stamina, and endurance. These attributes aren’t gained overnight, they are earned, and they’re crucial to how your body absorbs your horse’s movement. Whether you’re a novice rider or a passionate and experienced equestrian, preparing your body for the impact it takes while riding can make a night-and-day difference. As a certified instructor at Club Pilates and a passionate horseback rider, I’ve found that Pilates is the perfect complement to any equestrian’s fitness program, as it strengthens and conditions the entire body, targeting core strength, balance, and stability. Here are three classic Pilates exercises that really focus on your core muscles that will help you maintain tighter posture for a longer period of time. Regularly incorporating Pilates into your workout routines can make a big difference in your riding performance by achieving a more proper, secure, and effective posture. This helps build a trusting relationship with your horse and can take your riding to the next level. See and feel the difference in your body and your riding. Let the following Pilates exercises for equestrians improve your ride!


EXERCISE 1: Leg Pull Front Targets the abdominals, back muscles, hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders.

Step 1) In a plank position, lift one leg off the mat to hip height, keeping the leg straight and pelvis stable. Point the toe, then rock forward a few inches, flex the foot, then rock back to the starting position, placing your foot back on the mat and keeping that perfect plank position.

Step 2) Repeat on the other side. 8 reps of each set.

EXERCISE 2: Kneeling Side Kick – Targets glutes, core, and hip flexors.

Step 1) Kneel on the center of your mat, hands on forehead. Extend your right hand and tip your torso to the right side. Keep your hand in line with your shoulder.

Step 2) Lift left leg to hip height and fully extend. Keep your core engaged by drawing your navel in, kick leg forward, flex foot, then kick leg back behind the pelvis.

Step 3) Keep leg lifted. Lower straight leg back to hip height. Circle leg 5 times, repeat in other direction.

EXERCISE 3: Teaser – Develops core strength and balance.

Step 1) Lie on your back and fully extend your legs.

Step 2) Reach your arms forward, lift your head, then simultaneously lift the torso and legs off the mat into a “ V” position.

Step 3) Roll down by flexing the spine as you articulate each vertebra back to the mat while lowering the legs in unison.

If you enjoyed Pilates for equestrians, check out other beneficial activities to improve your riding both mentally and physically!