Equestrian Pilates can benefit riders of all ages, abilities and disciplines, whether that is on a competitive dressage, eventing, show jumping or driving level, a ‘happy hacker’ – and all the other levels and activities in between! It can help to:

Describing Pilates is one of the hardest parts of my work as an instructor as it can be a variety of things to different people; everyone gets something different from it and even that can change from session to session. When I talk with people about equestrian pilates I do sometimes get quizzical looks as people imagine how on earth they can get thier horse on a gym ball or mat – rest assured, it is work for the rider that will benefit the horse!

IMG_3126Pilates is a low impact exercise method which is suitable for people of most age groups and levels of physical fitness and ability as the exercises can be tailored to suit the needs of the client. The main aims of Equestrian Pilates include improvement of posture and increasing core stability. The exercises are performed in a slow, controlled manner with the focus on the accuracy of movement rather than the number of repetitions.

The matwork exercises are carried out in standing, lying and kneeling positions and are performed either with just your body as resistance/challenge or with a range of equipment such as gym balls, foam rollers, bands, weights, small balls – the list goes on!

Personally, I look at Equestrian Pilates as a very functional form of exercise. The exercises take the body through ranges of movement which we just don’t do on a regular basis, for example, circling the arms around the torso, circling the thigh bone in the hip socket or taking the back into extension.

Pilates will teach you how to do these movements well, to become more aware of your body and to feel which areas are working that don’t need to be (for example, are your shoulders hunched up by your ears as you read this?) and to correct postural imbalances that have developed over the years.

Equestrian Pilates takes the general Pilates principles and applies them specifically to riders’ needs, working on those areas which will enhance a rider’s performance.