The Ultimate


Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

Sarah Johnson

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and benefited immensely from the Dressage Rider Training programme.

My core strength and flexibility have both improved significantly and this has translated into greater stability and effectiveness in the saddle.

The downloadable 20-minute exercise sessions can manageably be fitted into a busy schedule and done anywhere (in your lounge, at the stable yard, in your hotel if you’re away from home…)

The inclusion of both strength and mobility exercises provides variety, and Nicola ensures that their relevance to riding is clear. The work on the Swiss ball is great fun, and the (apparently unscheduled) guest appearances of Nicola’s horse and dog in some of the videos are a most amusing added bonus!

I’d highly recommend the programme to all riders, regardless of their preferred discipline and level of experience.

Sarah Johnson, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

What is this program?


Often it is the rider who is holding the horse back from improving through the grades, not the other way around.

Are you spending a lot of time and effort in trying to become a better horse rider but you just aren’t seeing any improvement?

This can be extremely frustrating for you to not be seeing the results you want.

You could be spending a lot of money on horse riding lessons from coaches, but if you don’t have this one special ingredient, then there is something else holding you back.

You see, it takes a lot of strength and stamina to ride a horse and compete at any sort of level. The horse riders such as Mark Todd and Andrew Nicolson who compete at the Olympics are very fit athletes, and for them to compete at the level they do, they work on their fitness and core strength every day through riding and specific core training.

Riders from all over the world have completed this program & loved it. Keep reading to see why.

Your horse wishes you had a stronger core

The better you are locked into your saddle and can move with the horse, the freer your horse will become. Your horse will relax through the back allowing it to have a much better stride.

The more correct freedom and suppleness you create in your hips and spine the more you are able to absorb the movement of the horse and the two of you can move together in harmony.

As soon as you create the strength, fitness and stability in your own body, the sooner you can do the same for your horse.

rider fitness program participant

Program participant Shawn Maurice at a Dressage event

Core strength is the single biggest ingredient that most dressage riders lack, and if you want to progress to the next level in your riding, then you need to pay as much attention to your own physical core strength & fitness as you do your horses.

This is what this Dressage Rider Training program will give you.

Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

Sylvia Schafer

I want to thank you for the huge difference this program has made in my riding.

Last year we were struggling with 4th level. This summer I have been competing PSG and just earned my USDF silver medal.

As an amateur with a full-time job and just one horse to ride, the extra strength, flexibility, and reaction speed that I have gotten from DRT has allowed me to reach the next level.

My horse likes how much more evenly I sit and the greater clarity of my aids (even though my rogue right leg still swings forward from that tighter hip flexor. Grr!)

Happy riding!

Sylvia Schafer, Connecticut, United States



Watch the Video Below

How do I access the program?

When purchasing you will receive login details to our website that contains the program. Each week you will receive an email with everything you need to do that week, with links to the workouts and resources to do that week on the website.

On the website you can download the video workouts to do, or you can push play and stream them on your computer, laptop or mobile device, the same as a youtube video.

Can I download the workouts?

Yes, you can download each workout individually to your computer, or you can order a USB Drive at any time throughout the program that gets delivered to your door. It contains all the video workouts and resources you need to do the program offline. Please note there is an extra cost for this.

Are the workouts live?

No, the workouts are not live as such, you can do them when they work best for you in the week. Nicola suggests Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but she stresses that you can absolutely move them around to suit your schedule. The program is flexible in this way.

How long are the workouts?

The workouts are approximately 20 minutes long and you have 3 to do each week. Nicola has made this so they are achievable and can fit into your full days. There are also optional homework exercises, both on the horse, and off the horse.

Is this suitable for beginner fitness levels?

Yes absolutely! Every workout has options to make it easier if needed, and you can ask Nicola for help modifying any exercises if you have specific limited movements due to a previous injury or the like.

Can I do this program if I have had a hip or knee replacement?

Yes, we have had many participants who have had hip or knee replacements complete this program. There are options to manage this, and you can ask Nicola for help at any time if you find there is something you cannot do. There is always an alternative!

Can I repeat workouts & go at my own pace?

Yes absolutely. Some participants choose to repeat Phase 1 of the program (first 4 weeks) until they feel ready to progress. So you are more than welcome to work through the program at your own pace. There will always be others who are at the same stage as you.

How long do I have access to the program?

You will have 6 months access to the program on our website, giving you plenty of time to complete it. After this you can download the program to your computer to keep, or order the USB Drive. Then it will be permanently yours.

Do you provide support & guidance?

Absolutely! I am here to help you every step of the way. We also have a fantastic community of past and current participants both on our website and private Facebook Group. They provide motivation, encouragement and support to each other. Because everyone is on the same journey and shares the same passion. You will love it!

Program has 3 Phases

Each week contains the following sessions

Each week you will have one 20 minute core workout to complete.

This contains dressage specific core exercises to strengthen your mid section & your seated position in the saddle.

Each week you will have one 20 minute mobility workout to complete.

This combines yoga & stretching to free up your spine, hips & shoulders. Achieving flexibility & suppleness is the objective.

Each week you will have one 20 minute rider strength workout to complete.

This workout focuses on your overall strength of your legs & sling muscles to improve your endurance & energy levels.

Each week you will have some specific homework to do.

This may include some extra stretching, mobility work, or something to focus on while riding (for example riding without stirrups for a period of time).

All workouts available to download

Download to your computer

For those living rurally, I know that internet can be a right pain sometimes! This is why all the videos are downloadable. You can simply download them right to your desktop and be able to play them without having to worry about using up data or internet dropping out and the videos not playing.

Order USB Drive of the complete program

Save all the trouble of downloading the program & save on your internet data. This USB Drive is delivered right to your door.

It contains the complete DRT1 program in full 1080p HD. All the video workouts and resources you need to do the program offline, and saves you hours of downloading the workouts yourself.

To order the USB Drive, you can select it on the checkout page as an optional extra.

The price of the USB Drive is $49 + a small shipping fee.

Dedicated Mobile App

Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

Jillian Staton

I have loved doing the program. It was so easy to roll out of bed, turn on the laptop and do my exercise.

I think it has given me more control over my body when I am riding, and has also toned me up.

I feel great, and for the first time in ages, I don’t wake up feeling stiff. I will definitely sign up to the next program.

Jillian Staton, Victoria, Australia



This program can be done without any equipment. However to get the most out of the program, we recommend the following pieces of equipment that are inexpensive, but will make a huge difference to your success with the program.

We give you the option to order these after registration, or at any time throughout the program if you wish to use these.

(But remember, these are completely optional)

Foam Roller

This is used for self massage and improving the suppleness of your muscles and remove any stiffness. We use it as a recovery tool to help your body feel great at the end of each week.

Resistance Bands 

This is introduced in week 5 of the program to increase the resistance and help get your muscles, ligaments and joints stronger. If you do not wish to use one of these, then there are options within the workouts that allow for this.

Balance Ball

Introduced in week 9 (Phase 3) of the program to improve your balance, co-ordination and alignment. It replicates the dynamic and unpredictable movement encountered in the saddle, and improves your ability to adjust.

Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

I can’t say enough good things about the DRT program.

I am ecstatic with my progress. My balance, strength and flexibility have all improved tremendously since the beginning of the program. The progress seen from the workouts combined with my weekly horse “homework” have transferred to the saddle and improved my riding.

Being more balanced in the saddle with a stronger core helps my horse complete the tasks I’m asking him to do instead of having to work that much harder because I’m not doing my part. I feel strongly enough about this program that I think every rider should go through Dressage Rider Training, no matter the discipline.

I’ve also found the benefits of this program go much farther than the saddle. Daily activities have become easier and my posture has become so much better!

Nicola’s instruction is fantastic and she has a way of correcting you at just the right time, almost like she’s right there working out with you.

Dawn Shaver, Missouri, United States



This program has helped dressage riders just like you

Whether you compete at the higher levels...

Gardy Bloembers
Virginia, United States

Despite regular riding of two horses both moving into the FEI levels, I knew I had to do more and I did not have the additional time to go to a gym or regular fitness classes.

This program turned out to be perfect not only because I could fit it in, but because it made so much sense to me.

I could link every exercise back to being in the saddle and I have seen tremendous improvement on many levels but particularly with my balance and ability to recover my balance while riding.

Jennifer Egan
County Meath, United Kingdom

Over the previous 6 months, my riding had gradually changed from riding two advanced horses five to six days a week, to having one green horse and riding three to four times a week if I was lucky (weather and work commitments).

I realised that I was not riding so well, I was losing strength and co-ordination and I really needed to do something about it.

Going to the gym or joining an exercise class were fine options in theory, but the reality was that juggling a fairly demanding job, the vagaries of the Irish winter weather and minding 5 horses left little time to get to the gym/class and way too many excuses to skip it (just this once….).

I signed up to DRT 1, downloaded my first video and started my journey.  A few weeks later my horse sustained an injury that meant no riding for 10 weeks!  This is the longest period I have gone without riding in the last 15 years.  Normally if I miss one week of riding I feel weaker and less co-ordinated, now I was facing returning to riding my sharp, spooky, green horse after ten weeks….

But I had DRT. I felt stronger, more supple and better co-ordinated than I had felt in a very long time. I was amazed at how confident I felt that first time I sat up on my horse again, and my expectations were fulfilled – I was riding better than I had before the enforced break.

So why did DRT work for me?  There are a few reasons:

Firstly, the programme really targets what I need as a dressage rider – strength, suppleness and co-ordination, in all the right places.

Secondly, the structure of the programme, with three 20 minute workouts a week and homework, works perfectly with my lifestyle. I might miss a session, or even a week, due to work or life getting in the way, but I can take up where I left off, or even go back a week if I feel the need.

I love the way Nicola offers several different levels of difficulty in most exercises, so if I have to repeat a week it's not boring – I'll try the harder option second time around. Having this structure has really helped me to stick with the programme, even if my pace is slower than I might like.

Thirdly, the homework – it's transformed my life! I have known about, and tried to fix for years my crookedness as a rider and my tight hip muscles and ITB, but somehow I never seemed to get there. The homework has finally given me tools that really work. And the tip about using stretching in the yard – brilliant! I always felt that I could stretch without having done a full workout first, but now every free moment I have in the yard, I'll do a quick stretch.

I'd recommend this programme to anyone who wants to ride better and feel better.

Or perhaps Dressage is not your main discipline...

Philippa Fourie, New Zealand

To anyone who thinks this program is just for dressage riders and happy hackers, then think again.

I am a showjumper, and DRT has not only improved my stability when things go awry in the saddle, but my endurance is improved exponentially.

I achieved my personal best last week, and did what I never thought would be possible by riding the biggest, most complicated technical track of my life on the most difficult horse I have ever owned. A couple of rails sure, but I nailed every turn and every related line and the treble combination. I was only able to achieve that because I was my best self, physically and mentally, and I wouldn’t have got there without DRT.

I am now addicted to this programme!

Cindy Mussell
BC, Canada

I am a 64 year old competitive barrel racer. Having completed your first program of DRT, I can't wait for the 2nd one!

Your program was easy to follow and short and sweet! 20 minutes was easy to fit into the day somewhere. I loved the stretching exercises afterward and the encouraging videos.

Thank you for the wonderful website and programs. Looking forward to the next phase!

Or maybe you casually ride on the weekends...

Susan Kicklighter, FL, United States

This is Gabe, my 7 yo ottb. We have been together for 31/2 years. Never would have seen myself on a young TB but he is the perfect gentleman.

Riding dressage at 56 yo has it's challenges, especially on a young horse and an inexperienced rider. DRT was just what I needed to improve my athletic abilities, particularly core and balance. I looked forward to my workouts daily. I accomplished things I never thought I could be capable of: Hindu squat, balancing on Swiss ball, and 30 days of stirrup less riding.

The workout has options for all levels and Nicola is positive, encouraging, and genuine in her efforts to help you reach your full riding potential.

Can't wait for # 2! Thank you so much!

Blake Coyle, CA, United States

Dressage training is a fantastic program!

It is refreshing to find a personal trainer that knows how to coach and optimize biomechanics exercises for the equestrian athlete. The videos are easy to follow and the time commitment fits into your busy schedule.

I would highly recommend this program to both the beginner and advance dressage rider! Thank you Nicola.

If you want to improve your confidence in the saddle...

Suzanne O'Connor
New York, United States

I’d have to say the number one thing I’ve taken away from the program is… confidence!

I’ve been able to keep up, which tells me I am fitter than I think I am… I kept to the progam, which tells me I am more determined than I think I am…

I don’t have a horse of my own, but like to ride the same school horses again and again since I can better predict their ways. Since starting DRT, I have started on four new and different horses, the ones I always thought were ‘above my level.’ And I accepted these horse assignments without freaking out. Ha!

Pam Knudsen, WA, United States

The program was fabulous. For someone coming back from an injury, the program definitely helped me regain not only my confidence on my horse but also the muscles and skills necessary to do so.

Both of my trainers have commented on how much better I am in the saddle than I was before the program.

Rachel Baghelai, IL, United States

The DRT program has helped me and my horse Stormy so much. I lost 2 dress sizes over the three months. And most importantly, i have become a much better rider and Stormy and I have become a team.

Prior to the program, I had always been afraid to canter. Further my stamina was not nearly good enough and I was not pushing Stormy enough. Now we are cantering, and I am in better shape than my horse!  The two of us are working on increasing her stamina for cantering now and are looking forward to riding in some shows this summer.


Kara Noble, MA, United States

I signed up for DRT1 to get back in shape after family crises forced me to take a nearly two-year hiatus from riding.

I was completely out of shape and at a point where I thought it might be time to give up horses. It felt unfair to ride my mare because I was so off balance and tottery. DRT looked daunting, but I thought “If I can get through this, I can get back in the saddle.”

For me, DRT was a miracle.

The program was a lot easier than I expected. Your support and guidance along the way were wonderful. DRT’s phased fitness-building program gave me more energy and strength than I’ve had in years. I feel more flexible, balanced, supple, and relaxed in the saddle.

My confidence is coming back and riding is fun again. My Icelandic mare and I haven’t tried a dressage test yet, but it is our new goal.

Regular exercise with DRT hasn’t just helped my riding. I feel better all over. This program has been life changing for me, and I cannot wait to start DRT2.

Thank you so much for this terrific program.

Sarah Baldwin, Perth, Australia

Hi Nicola

I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I have been with your Dressage Riders Training course!

I signed up not quite knowing what to expect – and wondering if I could anticipate real results from an online course.  I can now report that I have noticed a meaningful difference in my overall strength, flexibility and balance.  This is all the more important to me as work commitments this past quarter have meant limited opportunity to ride – being able to put in effort at times that suit me has meant I feel I am continuing to work at improving my riding despite the challenges of daily living.

For me, the results will not be short lived as I have also developed a far deeper appreciation of what physically needs to happen to maintain a strong yet flexible position – and the impact poor posture, old injuries and a degree of laziness in setting new challenges for myself have had on my balance and endurance (both on and off a horse!)   As a middle aged person looking to maintain good health, these learnings alone are invaluable.

I highly recommend your Dressage Rider Training – I will definitely be signing up for your next course.  I have attached a picture of Gambit and me from last weekend – I really hope he appreciates my efforts on that Swiss ball!

With thanks

Sarah Baldwin

Perth WA

Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

Mark Lawand

Hi Nicola

I have struggled for many years in Dressage, getting frustrated with how much I interfered and hindered my horses.

Then this program came along and the improvements started happening at an unbelievable pace. My body stability, balance, core strength, symmetry, and flexibility improved, which allowed me to become much more independent in the saddle, improving my feel, making my aids lighter and clearer, allowing me to relax more, which made riding so much more harmonious and fun for both me and my horses. It was a big missing piece of my puzzle.

A must for any Dressage rider! I mean every word! Thank you for this transformation!

Mark Lawand, Surrey, Canada

Your Trainer


My name is Nicola Smith. I am a qualified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and CHEK Level 2 physical trainer with a University degree in Physical Education. I have been involved in the wellness industry now since 2002.

I am also passionate about dressage riding. This is my horse Leo. As an online personal trainer, I have helped many people with their health, fitness and core strength.

Alongside Dressage Rider Training, I run what we call our 'Online Gym' which is a membership based website providing members with nutrition, motivation and workouts to do from home or wherever it suits them.

We have a large and thriving Dressage Rider Training community on our website and Facebook group. Past and current participants help and support each other, as we all have the common goal of wanting to improve and be the best we can be for our horse.

We would love for you to be part of it too.


Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

Terry Hargrove

The DRT program is phenomenal!

It is challenging, but not overwhelming. I’m stronger, more flexible and a better rider as a result of the program. (And I’m not a spring chicken!)

I have a deeper more stable seat and much clearer communication through my aides. Where my horse used to start hollow, he is now willing to step up under my seat from the get go. I’m no longer blocking him with my back.

I would (and have) recommend this program to anyone equestrian or not who wants to improve strength and flexibility. And it’s fun! Except maybe balancing on that pesky ball!😜

Thanks so much for making this program available to us!!!

Terry Hargrove, Texas, United States

Register Now


Will you join us?

This is a program that combines Nicolas knowledge of scientific core conditioning and strength training, with the biomechanics of dressage riding. In this course Nicola shows you the different muscle groups that are required for riding, ways to activate them along with exercises to increase mobility and proper function. When riders train the correct muscles and increase the strength and stability of their core they become much more efficient and balanced riders.

Discover the biomechanical relationships between different muscles groups, and how when they are working correctly you will prevent back pain, maintain good posture and achieve optimal balance and performance when riding.

Program currently in progress...

All my time is currently spent helping program participants get the best results possible. Once more spaces become available I will open the program again. If you would like to be notified when it does, enter your name & email above.

Upon purchase, you will be given login details to the Online Gym website that contains the Dressage Rider Training program (you will notice that when you login the URL is at and the website is called the Online Gym).

The Dressage Rider Training program is contained within the Online Gym as an exclusive program that standard members will not be able to access. However your purchase of this program will allow you to access ALL other areas of the Online Gym as well for 6 months.

Program Access

This is a 12-week dressage specific program contained with the Online Gym website. Your access to the Online Gym will remain for 6 months. To continue to access the DRT program after this period, you have two options:

1 - You can download ALL course material including videos & workout plans at any stage. As you will have purchased this DRT program, it is yours to keep & you are absolutely entitled to download it. We show you how.

2 - If you like everything the Online Gym has to offer, after 6 months passes you can choose to continue as an Online Gym member for a monthly or yearly fee, & your access to the DRT program will remain for as long as you are an Online Gym member.

You do not have to decide which option to choose now, I would recommend you start the program and decide once you near completion.

P.S. Do not underestimate how much your horse will notice your stronger core when riding. Your horse will move more freely, becoming more athletic and dynamic. Also physically your horse will get less back problems due to your improved riding position.

"If you have any questions regarding the Dressage Rider Training program, please do use the chat box to send a message. I would love to hear from you and help as best I can."