Anettte Wilson | 0447337276

Pilates for the Dressage Rider

Dressage is the basis of all disciplines!

Correct posture is the basis of ALL riding!

The only horse rider not to use dressage I think would be a jockey, however, the jockey that rides a racehorse that has had some basic dressage training certainly appreciates the difference. I used to train racehorses for a short period of time and all my young horses went through basic dressage training. The jockey may not use dressage BUT I know the top jockeys use Pilates and have the best core stability for what they do in those tiny saddles.

Pilates is a starting point, dressage riders need to train for horse riding specifically as well as core strength.

Pilates trains in a “neutral spine”. Horse riders require core strength in “non-neutral spine” and in a moving pelvis.

Pilates for the dressage rider (now labeled equestrian Pilates) and for every rider is the basis of all riding. The strength of the core and the use of the core to stabilize the trunk, the pelvis, and the spine is essential for all riding. It must be practiced properly though and often! The dressage riding position is very straight and stable but must be flexible and the hand’s seat and legs have to be independent of each other.

This skill and an ultimate ability. Pilates exercises are great but specific Pilates-based movement patterns train the dressage rider specifically. The dressage rider more than any other rider needs an independent flexible pelvis and lower back.  

Can You Sit The Trot?….. Does your pelvis tilt forward and backward in rhythm with the horse’s pace and beat? …..Can You Stay Upright at the Canter?… Are your Aids The Same Every time?….. Do You Punish Your Horse Because he Does What You Ask? 

 The dressage rider uses a great deal of energy just to stay upright in the saddle while the horse is moving. The control of this upright posture needs a very strong core. To be able to sit the trot is a skill that must be trained in every rider. To be able to apply the same effective gentle aid must also be trained.

We train our horses to respond so we need to train ourselves to be able to apply it.

Pilates for the Dressage Rider

If we apply an aid and the horse responds that is good. If we apply an aid and the horse responds, but not the way we asked we usually pull him up and punish him.


If your seat is not stable and your legs are wobbling how does the horse know what is a wobble and what is an aid?

Pilates for the dressage rider

Training the core out of the saddle is a must for the dressage rider. The training of the core will also control back pain, a condition very many riders suffer from due to the nature of the sport.   The control and position of the lower leg need a very strong core. To maintain a good lower leg position and to have good use of the lower leg a rider needs to train this as an exercise.

A strong core is key to good riding and skill. The ability to move your pelvis is an absolute skill as well.

 A dressage rider requires precise control and strength in their lower leg. The dressage rider needs to achieve an independent stable seat to apply aids the horse understands. Pilates for the dressage rider needs to include specific movement patterns that train the rider to learn and strengthen the individual patterns.

If you are serious about your dressage training and especially how you ride then look at my

Applied Posture Riding Membership Program and get ahead of your competitors, train yourself to be a great rider and become one. Good luck and enjoy your riding.

Annette Willson Remember to look at yourself before you blame your horse.  

Pilates for the dressage rider is a must. Please LIKE my Applied Posture Riding Facebook Page for tips and advice.