Readers Stay in Shape to Ride

More than 680 readers of responded to a poll asking, "Do you take extra steps to keep in shape for riding your horse?"

results of poll on rider fitness

Results were as follows:

  • No, riding and barn chores keep me in shape: 35.08% (241)
  • Yes, through a separate workout regimen: 32.90% (226)
  • Yes, through diet and healthy eating: 19.51% (134)
  • No, I don't have time for additional steps: 12.52% (86)

Readers shared their workout regimen in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

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  • I'm a barrel racer and be fit & strong especially my core to ride my horse
  • I do stretches and try to work on flexability... I don't have so much as I get older.
  • If i don't eat healthy i gain weight fast!
  • Besides taking care of my small horse farm I am also a runner & a full time mom!
  • I usually go to the gym in the winter to help stay in shape
  • I have a specific workout plan developed for me for the 1999 European Championships.
  • I take a spinning class, which focuses on balance, endurance and strength.
  • I'm in no shape to ride right now. I quit riding when my Belgian mare developed ring bone.
  • I stretch out every day to stay limber. I do extra stretches so I can easily mount and dismount.
  • We get back into shape together.
  • Especially, in winter, walking, stretching and swimming plus a strict diet.
  • Curves Zumba!! Great FUN!
  • I also keep in shape working around the farm
  • Along with a separate workout, I include diet and healthy eating.
  • Curves 3xwk , hiking and keeping weight down with good diet
  • especially in the Spring here in CNY as I quickly get out of shape before we move to the indoor
  • Due to my horses health issues, the lighter me and the tack are, the better for him.
  • I found that I got quiet out of shape and am now working on it.
  • yoga to strengthen core & help balance
  • Yoga is great for riding-improved balance and strengthens core
  • I've been jumping rope in the barn aisle this winter when I can't ride.
  • Just turned 60, refocusing on own health, walk horse 1 mile before mounting & after ride
  • yoga, walking, and good diet
  • No. But I should. I always know that a day after I ride because I'm so sore.
  • Also I watch my diet.
  • I stretch and limber before climbing on & ride without stirrups to strengthen my legs
  • Eat Right, Walk Fast, Yoga, and 11 horses to care for daily. Drink lots of water
  • Diet & healthy eating go along with physical exercise.
  • made a huge difference by strenghtening my core.
  • landscaping and eatting what I want ,&riding& chores dp it for me.
  • also do healthy earting
  • I have never never over 100 lbs, and i have literally been riding since the day i was born.
  • Yoga classes have been very beneficial.
  • I try. It's seasonal =s
  • Don't ride in winter so do stretching exercises along with barn choresh
  • I really should add exercise to my riding life
  • Workout and watch my diet. I don't want to look like those fat reiners that are an embarrassment ...
  • With 29 horses to care for, I don't need extra steps to keep in shape!
  • As a full time professional farrier I stay in shape with work.
  • I work for a living so extra exercize isn't on the schedule
  • Barn and farm chores also keep me strong and fit for riding.
  • I do strengthening esp core muscles and aerobic as well as barn chores
  • Ive always been thin & never worked out but now at middle age I have to fight stiffness & soreness
  • biking makes legs stronger
  • I count on farm chores to keep me in shape, but some stretching would help
  • i am taining for the ironman.
  • Pleasure riding is the only sport I have time for these days!
  • I wish I did, but no.
  • I lost 35 pounds after getting back into riding at age 44.
  • We just bought an elliptical machine, I eat healthy, walk, ride & shovel manure constantly
  • Besides Riding and Barn chores, i ride my bike, hike & do plenty of yardwork! i keep a good diet
  • Got to love my elliptical machine! Helps keep my legs toned during the winter.
  • walking the dogs & yoga
  • Lots of walking/lifting involved with feeding our horses
  • Yoga Pilates and a swift walk all help
  • once a week fitness training with weights to help keep my core strong
  • I also stretch and walk often
  • At 73, keeping up the "place", riding. lessons, & grooming 3 horses is enough.
  • I write down what I eat. my goal is 2 meats or equivalents 8 veg n fruits
  • Healthy diet is a major part as well as riding and barn chores
  • Specific fitness for riders and through healthy eating
  • Anyone serious about riding owes it to their horse to get fit.
  • also try to get to gym or pool on days I don't ride
  • I work out 3x a week in addition to riding 5 days a week and chores. I do cardio, weights, yoga.
  • I bicycle indoors in the winter and outdoors in the good weather to keep in shape for riding.
  • flexibility exercises for old person w/tall mule
  • workout at gym every day
  • zumba 3X week, yoga 3Xweek
  • 62 years old.
  • diet, healthy eating, and separate workout.
  • Working all day at the barn, and riding keep me in good shape.
  • I workout more than I ride. :-(
  • I run 20 miles per week in addition to barn chores - helps maintain ideal body weight.
  • I don't have a lot of extra time to exercise between working and riding, so I eat healthy!
  • Stretches plus sit-ups

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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