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Equestrian Fitness Program


The Equestrian Fitness Center strives to provide a program for achieving "total fitness" through a combination of sound nutrition and a comprehensive exercise program tailored to the needs of the individual equestrian.

Participants will be provided basic nutritional information and will need to maintain a daily diet and exercise activity log. The exercise program integrates and stresses the four key elements for achieving equestrian fitness - flexibility, muscular conditioning, aerobics and balance - all of which are necessary for those serious about their riding.


A variety of individualized exercise stretches will be employed to improve the rider's suppleness. Conditioning of specific muscle groups will be accomplished through resistance training with weights and by using exercise equipment to increase the tone and strength of those muscle groups. Since posture and balance are important in riding, many of the exercises will emphasize the lower, oblique, and upper abdominal muscles. This will be true when working in both the gym and when being lunged on a horse. Aerobic fitness will be achieved through brisk walks, jogging, and/or work on a treadmill, biking, or swimming.


Typically, an exercise (a specific movement with or without a weight or against a resistance force) will be repeated a number of times (e.g., groups of 5-15repetitions). The number of designed repetitions for a group in an exercise is called a set. For example, a set may consist of a group of 5 repetitions of an exercise. Each set is followed by a rest period. Training will usually involve 3-5 sets of each exercise in the rider's fitness program. the same concept of repetitions and sets follows through to the equestrian's fitness riding (i.e., mounted work) program.





Riding Program

Our equestrian fitness program is designed to meld with our equestrian riding program and/or complement a rider's extant instructor-provided riding program. It focuses in two levels of rider instruction - novice and intermediate. A brief description and summary of the corresponding program curriculum are provided below to help orient candidates and to provide the basic expectations at each of the two program levels.


Novice Rider

This level of instruction and rider fitness is expected to provide the beginning or novice rider with a basic foundation for achieving a balanced seat and controlling the horse. In general, it is intended for individuals who have less than two years of riding experience and/or have not yet mastered the skills expected of a rider to transition to the Intermediate level. It may also be pursued by an individual who has been away from riding for years and wants to get back in equestrian sport activities.


Mounted Skills

Positioning the balanced seat and legs

Introduction to the leg aids

Holding the reins

Introduction to the rein aids (contact and tempo control)

Introduction to the weight (seat) aids

Beginning to coordinate intergration of aids


Basic Riding Skill

  • Moving off and riding at a medium walk

  • Riding a horse in a connected balance

  • Transitioning from walk to trot

  • Trot rising and sitting

  • Transitioning downward from trot to walk

  • Striking-off from trot to canter

  • Canter balance

  • Transitioning downward from walk to halt

  • Turning around the forehand

  • Changing rein on straight lines

  • Working on a circle in all paces (walk, trot, and canter)

  • Changing rein out of a circle in walk and trot

Novice riders are expected to try and take four lessons per month. An individual who has never ridden will start with a series of lead-line lessons. Each rider will be evaluated in order to tailor the program to their individual needs. Lessons are progressive. For example, during the first month the rider will be mounted on a school horse and given lead-line and/or lunge lessons depending on the rider's experience. During the second month, lunge lessons will continue, and riding skills introduced. An increased emphasis will be placed on riding skills during the third month. During the fourth month, lunging continues with more emphasis on riding skills with exercises.


Intermediate Rider

This level of instruction and rider fitness is intended to provide the rider with a solid foundation for achieving an effective seat for controlling and balancing the horse. Also the integration of the aids (seat, reins, and legs), which will connect the horse from back to front.

Mounted Skills

  • Positioning the balance seat
  • Acquiring the weight (seat) aids of putting weight on one or both seat bones
  • Acquiring the rein aids of regulating, yielding, supporting, non-allowing rein
  • Acquiring the ability of appropriately using the whip in leg aids
  • Acquiring the skill for coordinating the timing and integration of all the aids

Basic Riding Exercises:

  • Transitions from one gait to another
  • Pace variations within the walk, trot, and canter
  • Loops on the long side
  • Serpentines
  • Changing rein on a figure eight
  • Changing rein through the circle
  • Leg yielding at the wall and across the arena
  • Rein Back

Final Riding exercises to be accomplished at the Intermediate Level includes:

  • Half-halt and full halt
  • Leg yield in the trot
  • Line-to-line leg yielding
  • The Volte (small circle that is 6 meters in diameter)
  • Half-circle, returning back to the track
  • Double loop on the long side
  • Turn around the haunches and around the forehand
  • Collected and extended trot and canter
  • Counter-canter


General Information for the Equestrian

The individual wishing to participate in the Equestrian Fitness Center Activities at Cedar Rowe Farm should keep the following in mind:

Equestrians that plan on participating in the physical fitness program will be assessed and consulted regarding their objectives, on an initial no-cost basis.

Before any equestrian can be accepted into the program, a medical questionnaire form and a rider's release form must be completed. It may also be necessary to obtain approval form the applicant's physician before approval to participate in the program can be approved.

Wear helmet (meeting ASTM/SEI  safety standards) whenever mounted on a horse.

Wear boots with prominent heels, and wear long stretchy pants whenever riding.

Riding gloves are mandatory attire, whenever mounted on a horse.

Wear gym-like clothing for all gym workouts. Sneakers are mandatory, when working on the treadmill









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