Rider Fitness | Warming Up

Getting Started – Warm up

Every equestrian athlete regardless of their level should be using a dynamic warm up.

Not only to minimise the risk of injury but also to improve the quality

of experience for themselves and their horse.

Rider fitness has been something I have been very lucky to come into contact with

and the dynamic exercises that we use to mobilise the major muscles and joints have

certainly helped our riders.

Below I have put 3 exercises that you can use as part of your pre riding routine. I would suggest using ten repetitions of each exercise, for up to 5 minutes or until you feel suitably warm. Give them a go.

Dynamic warm Up


These 3 exercises are excellent mobility exercises prior to riding.


Vertical Woodchops

Vertical Woodchop for rider fitness

Rider Fitness - Vertical Woodchop

Vertical Woodchop for rider fitness - 2

Rider Fitness - Vertical Woodchop

Start with the feet shoulder with apart. Keep the arms straight. Squat, keeping the back straight and the hips back,  and take the arms inside the knees. Stand tall squeezing the glutes together

Repeat for 10 repetitions.


Rotational Woodchops

Rider fitness, rotational woodchop

Rider Fitness - Rotational Woodchop

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart keeping your elbows soft. You should then have a 90 degree pivot with trailing leg, the Planted foot stays facing forwards. Hands stay in line with sternum and rotate 180 degrees. Engage the core throughout. Repeat for 10 repetitions



Diagonal Woodchops

Rider Fitness - Diagonal Chop

Rider Fitness - Diagonal Chop

Perform a squat motion keeping your knees and toes in line. Rotate on the opposite toe to the side you reach down. Hands to outside of knee. Stand up with diagonal chop across body, your Hands finish in line with head. Keep a Tall posture throughout the 180 degree rotation. Repeat the exercise 10 times on each side.


So there you have it 3 very simple exercises that you can use to help in your warm up before riding and your training.

These exercises have served those clients who I work with daily to help with their riding fitness to achieve the best they can on their horse regardless of their level of competition or recreation.

Have a great day,


Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan

Photo credits to Karen Wilton.


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