Improve your core stability to help improve your riding in 2023

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • This article and video features exercises to improve core stability, flexibility, strength and fitness for riding from Dee Holdsworth of Dynamic Sports Therapy

    A rider’s lack of flexibility, strength and fitness can severely limit their ability to perform, but by following the exercises in these videos, a relatively small investment in time can have far reaching positive effects on your performance as a rider. Here, we provide advice on how to improve horse rider core stability.

    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 horse rider core stability

    These exercises are ideal for riders who struggle with tightness in the back and/or a weak seat. They can also help improve lower leg stability.

    Exercise one: hip extensions

    Improves flexibility of the hip and strength of the gluteals, particularly useful when riding half passes and flying changes.

    Exercise two: hip flexor strength and improve core stability

    Increases the rider’s depth of seat and control of the pelvis while allowing the spine, upper body and thigh to move with the horse.

    Exercise three: lower body control

    Improves the strength and flexibility of the adductors. This is particularly helpful for improving the stability of a rider’s lower leg while going across country.

    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 fitnesstroop.co.uk (Katie Brighton-Jones), shadowplay.co.uk (Philip E James) and performbetter.co.uk.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits. 

    You may like...