Dressage Rider Training

As I posted on Wednesday, I think keeping your horse in the best shape really improves performance but I am also a big believer in keeping yourself in the best shape as well. I have been an athlete my whole life and played NCAA Volleyball while in college. There it was easy to stay in shape with 3 hr practices everyday on top of weight lifting and conditioning. Since graduating and working full time that has become a little bit harder. When I end work the first thing I want to do is head to the barn, not jump on a stationary bike or go for a run. Friend W had suggested we try Nicola Smith’s Dressage Rider Training Program. For those who have not heard of it she does 20 min online video workouts 3X a week. The workouts focus on Core Strength, Yoga/Flexibility, and Rider Strength.

I am officially on week 3 and I am really enjoying the workouts so far. They are short enough to fit in during lunches or breaks in the day. It has been a good way for me to get away from my computer and move a little bit while working from home. The program runs for 12 weeks each week building on what you did last week. Nicola also provides educational resources about rider fitness and anatomy to help better your ridings. It’s a program that can be done with or without a horse of your own.

The biggest difference I have noticed so far is in my flexibility. My hips get really locked when I am riding Dressage and my wide horse does not favors to me either. So far I have noticed myself activating my core more while riding and keeping a more neutral spine instead of my natural tendency to arch.

doing my wk3 yoga

After 12 weeks I guess I will see if this made a huge difference or not in some of my riding basics. In addition to the 20 min workouts, I am also trying to fit in some cardio a couple of times week to keep that up as well.

Do you set riding fitness goals for yourself? Would love to hear what workout programs work best for you and if you notice a difference in your riding!

One thought on “Dressage Rider Training

  1. i love that more and more top riders are talking about how to make fitness plans associated with riding — this particular program looks pretty cool too. i was never really an athlete (LOL) and never had any sort of fitness routine or habit, other than an on-again/off-again(mostly off) relationship with treadmills over the years. so stuff like this is hard for me to commit to. but i *do* feel like a better, more confident and more secure rider when i’m more active generally in life. even just frequent long walks or hikes (or taking the stairs to my 9th floor apartment) can make a positive difference.


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