A rider’s lack of flexibility, strength and fitness can severely limit their ability to perform, but by following the exercises in our series of fitness videos, a relatively small investment in time can have far reaching positive effects on your performance as a rider.

You should warm up your muscles by taking a brisk walk, or similar, after riding before performing any of these exercises. If you suffer any ongoing physical issues, we recommend you speak to a health professional before you start.

Each exercise is shown at three different levels of difficulty, so you can choose the version that is most suitable to your current physical condition and then progress through the levels as you improve.

How to improve your flexibility

Exercise one: upper back and shoulders release A series of stretches to reduce rounding of your shoulders and upper back, which will improve your posture and balance in the saddle.

Exercise two: hip flexor release Stretching the hip flexors can help reduce lower back pain, allow your pelvis to follow your horse’s back movements more closely and improve control of your seat.

Exercise three: lower back stretch Free up any tightness in the lower back and avoid excessive curvature of this area, leading to improved distribution of the rider’s weight through the seat.

About Dee Holdsworth

Dee is the founder of  Dynamic Sports Therapy. A keen rider, she has competed at national level and was part of the small stables team at the London 2012 Olympics. Dee works with some of the world’s leading horse and rider combinations, including some of those on track for Rio 2016.

Dee is an equestrian sports science graduate from Hartpury College and went on to complete the International Therapy Examination Council Diploma in equine sports massage, delivered by veterinary chartered physiotherapist Mary Bromiley, and now stands as the ESMA Chairman.

Dee is a level four sports massage therapist with the Sports Massage Association. She also holds certificates in human and equine kinesiology taping and muscle energy techniques, as well as using deep oscillation therapy.

This video is brought to you in association with www.fitnesstroop.co.uk (Katie Brighton-Jones), www.shadowplay.co.uk (Philip E James) and www.performbetter.co.uk.