Pilates for the Equestrian

Focus of the day- Mat leg lifts and leg circles for the Glute Medius and Abductor muscles to strengthen leg control and core stability in the saddle.

The goal of this exercise is to activate and strengthen the outer thigh and glutes while stabilizing the core against movement. The glutes and outer thighs are important muscles in taking the rider’s leg off and away from the horse. Riders must be able to do this without disrupting the stability of their core. Many riders depend on the strength of their inner thighs to hold themselves on the horse when really this inhibits the forward motion of the horse.

Side Leg Lifts and Leg Circles

Start side lying on right side hips stacked on top of each other and abdominals pulling in and off mat. Bend the right leg 90 degrees for stability and left hand on your hip.

Inhale point the toe and lift the left leg in a straight line off of the floor.

Exhale Flex the foot and slowly lower the leg back down.

Repeat 25 times

Inhale point toe and lift left leg off mat

Exhale-Inhale circle leg clockwise 10 times

Exhale-Inhale circle leg counterclockwise 10 times

Exhale lower leg to floor and repeat series on other side.

Mounted Warm up Centering Exercise

After mounting your horse sit for a moment legs draped down and around your horse. Feel the equal pressure in your stirrups and equal weight on each sit bone. Begin envisioning golden light that starts at your tail bone and travels down through to your horse’s core connecting to their heart. Imagine this golden light traveling from your horse’s heart up through your spine through to the crown of your head. This golden light is expanding to encompass both of you in an energetic circle of protection and commitment to each other. Once you feel fully centered and connected here move off into a steady rhythmic walk and begin your warm up.


Abby Hanc