Dressage Rider Exercises For Improved Fitness

Here are some great dressage rider exercises to help improve overall rider fitness and stamina. By including them you will help you maintain consistent energy over the duration of each and every ride you do.

As dressage riders, we often get caught up in the wellbeing and performance of our horse. We’re focused on working our horse enough to maintain his/her condition. We’re conscious of what they’re eating, the supplements they require and their energy levels. We direct the majority of our attention to ensure our horse’s physical health is optimal.

While this is vital for your performance as a dressage rider, it’s also important we put equal attention into our own health and fitness. Remember, we are in a team sport after all!

Too often I hear riders blaming their horse, rather than looking at what’s going on with their own body. Focusing on your own fitness will help you not only become a better rider but also help you continue riding for as long as you choose without your body holding you back.

I created Dressage Rider Training for purely that reason. As a passionate dressage rider, I want to be able to ride well into my 90’s and in order to do that, I have to maintain peak fitness and take care of my body today, not just my horses.

Improving my posture and position off the horse by working on my neutral spine and core strength, I will have a much better chance of being able to move easily with my horse and feel more stable.


Simple exercises to improve your fitness

In this video, I share with you a few simple exercises that will help you get started on the road to improving your fitness. Each of the exercises has options to modify the stretches to suit your own level. By including these into your daily routine you will help to improve your balance and riding position by increasing your overall stamina and core strength.

Start off at your own pace and make them more challenging as you gain great strength and mobility.

The exercises in this video will help improve your stability in the saddle, your core strength and mobility:



Planks are one of the best ways to strength your core. Focus on keeping your body in complete alignment and bracing your belly. Try not to let your lower back sink, instead contract your abdominal muscles to remain strong and stable through the spine.

Hold the plank in your chosen position for 30 seconds, increasing the time when you wish to increase the challenge.


Half kneeling side stretch

This exercise is great for loosing up your hips. Supple hips combined with a strong core and straight back allows you to move freely with your horse.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds each side.


Single straight leg toe taps

To improve your stability and check both sides of your body are even try out this exercise which targets your lower back and glutes. Take your time with this exercise, finding your balance and maintaining your form.

Start off with 10 toe taps each side.

Aim to do all these three exercise in the variation to suit your current fitness level, at least twice a week to gain improvements.

Dressage riding is all about proper alignment. Our body needs to be evenly balanced and have the right sort of strength that is even on both sides to allow clear leg aid and coordination of our limbs and torso.

Consistently practice the exercises in this video and you’ll see improvements in your riding very quickly.

Gaining dressage rider fitness isn’t about lifting heavy weights in a gym or running marathons. Instead, it’s about regularly doing exercises that allow you to move freely and effortlessly with your horse. Becoming a dressage athlete requires a unique style of fitness, which can only be achieved through exercises specific for riders.

Don’t hold your horse back.

Shine as an athlete and improve your strength, mobility and balance today.

For more exercises, stretches and workouts specifically designed take your riding to the next level, check out our dressage rider training online program. You’ll find all the tools to help you improve your fitness and strength for riding, and ample specific dressage exercises and workouts to help you take your dressage to a new level.

Want more articles and dressage exercises to help improve your riding? Check these out.

6 Dressage Exercises To Help Improve Your Riding Posture

7 Exercises To Improve Lower Body Strength And Balance

Dressage Rider Leg Strength – 6 Exercises To Help You Improve

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