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Pilates for the Equestrian

Create a deeper seat and an ideal riding partnership with your horse.
  • Frustrated that your horse won't respond properly to your commands?
  • Having trouble keeping a stable seat?
  • Feeling unusually sore and tired after a ride?

Imbalances develop over time, based on physiology, posture and lifestyle. How you move when not riding – other types of exercise, the amount (and quality) of sitting you do at work, etc. – directly affects how you function on a horse. Resulting asymmetries greatly affect movement and alignment, resulting in impediments like:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Tightness and curving in the lower back
  • Tight hamstrings

Exercises for Equestrians »

Why Pilates?

Pilates exercises increase your body awareness, and improve flexibility, balance, and strength in order to facilitate an optimal riding experience. Pilates helps equestrians:

  • Lengthen the spine and strengthen the core, which stabilizes the body in movement
  • Sculpt a stronger body with increased flexibility, strength, and balance
  • Create a deeper seat and enhance the suppleness of the lower back
  • Strengthen the abdominals
  • Increase hip independence
  • Increase leg and body length

Performance Benefits

With a strong core and increased flexibility, riders can:

  • Freely and gently move arms and legs around a stable base
  • Help clarify aids and hold jumping form
  • Avoid collapsing and bouncing in the saddle
  • Better absorb a horse's movement
  • Improve posture to help you deepen your seat
  • Increase comfort during and after your ride
  • Maintain neutral pelvis so you can easily follow your horse's movements
  • Develop a trusting riding relationship, where your horse responds to your commands and is confident in your ability

Suggested products for home

Pilates IQ® Reformer

The Pilates IQ® sets up in seconds, then stores away under a bed or upright in a closet. With its sleek design, professional features, easy storability, and affordable price, the Pilates IQ is perfect for home. The only reformer available that shortens for storage and still provides a smooth carriage ride with no seams on the track! 2-year warranty for non-commercial use. From $1645.

Pilates Allegro® Reformer

The Pilates Allegro® is the most versatile reformer on the market. Engineered and built for commercial fitness, it's also a great Reformer for home. Easily adjusts to accommodate users of different heights, and the optional Tower of Power ™ adds powerful versatility in the same compact footprint. From $2295.

Studio Reformer®

Unquestionably, our Rock Maple Studio Reformer® is the standard against which all reformers are measured. Used by the world’s most discriminating Pilates professionals, and also ideal for home studios that require the best. The smoothest, quietest and most durable machine on the market, it’s also available in cherry, walnut or mahogany. Limited Lifetime Warranty. Custom upholstery colors available. From $3195.

Mats, Props and Accessories

Balanced Body offers a complete array of top-quality accessories. For products listed here, Pilates workout videos and books are available to help expand your exercise repertoire.

Books

Equilates: A Gymnastic Riding System Using Mind, Body, and Spirit Progressive Training for Rider and Horse
by Betsy Steiner with Jennifer Bryant
International dressage rider and trainer Betsy Steiner offers a program that gives equal attention to the body, mind, and spirit of rider and horse as they ascend the classical training pyramid together. Betsy's integrated approach contains a program of Pilates exercises for the rider (mat and reformer exercises) and gymnastic body-building exercises for the horse. The book discusses many qualities vital to success: alignment and coordination, relaxation and flow, mental focus, forwardness, trust and confidence, obedience and work ethic.

Pilates for Dressage Riders
by Janice Dulak
The goals of Pilates are often identical to what dressage riders try to achieve in the saddle. They share an emphasis on the torso and achieving core strength, good posture and muscle flexibility. This book provides an introduction to Pilates and offers workouts for home or in the saddle. Its goals: to help the rider understand and gain control over the engagement of her own spine, and to improve her riding by using the knowledge gained through the practice of Pilates. Clear photos and detailed instructions clarify each exercise.