About Us

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® is for riders of all disciplines and riding abilities who want to become the best they can be. It is for professionals and for those who just want to have fun on horseback. It gives you the tools to develop self-awareness of body movement and simple but profound exercises that allow you to do what you want on horseback.

For professional or competitive riders, my goal is to provide you with a top notch EQUESTRIAN PILATES® program to help you get to the top of your game. Perhaps you are working on fine tuning upper-level dressage training, decreasing your time in Jumper classes, improving your Show Hunter technique or improving in showing Western. Whatever your preferred style of riding, all of these goals will come more easily to you by training your body to be in better physical condition. You, just like your horse, require serious athletic training to win and achieve your goals.

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® also offers great benefit for those who ride just for fun and those who train every day to improve their riding, but don’t want to enter the show ring. Whether showing or on the trail, horses do the same basic movements-walking, trotting, cantering, bucking, shying etc., and to absorb that motion a strong core, and strong, flexible, balanced muscles are needed. The program is designed to keep your body healthy so you can enjoy your hobby for years to come.

Here are some “riding problems” that EQUESTRIAN PILATES® can address:

  • Trouble sitting the trot.
  • Gripping with the arms and legs for balance.
  • Difficulty communicating with your body to achieve upper-level Dressage moves,
  • Tipping to far forward in the saddle at any gate or over jumps.
  • Back pain.
  • Soreness after riding.
  • Difficulty with flying lead changes.
  • Head bobbing.
  • And more!

And in case you are wondering, EQUESTRIAN PILATES® helps improve any style of riding because it focuses on the biomechanics of the rider and improving your horse-fitness. It sounds silly to say, but the body that you have off the horse is the exact one you have while riding. If you have bad posture, low back pain, crookedness, etc in your body off the horse, it will be there in some way while you ride.

Anything that is going on in your body will also be reflected in the movement of your horse. If you are stiff you horse will be too. If your low back is tight your horse will feel it. If you lean too far to the right it will unbalance your horse in some way too.

It is important to correct these problems in your body off the horse as most of the time they can not be permanently corrected while riding. Your horse-fitness is possibly the greatest factor in comfort, injury free, efficient riding. EQUESTRIAN PILATES® will make it easy to align, balance, super-charge and maintain that wonderful piece of equipment, your equestrian body.

So how can EQUESTRIAN PILATES® help you achieve these goals?

Most importantly it is specifically designed to improve your functional strength. This means that you can move your body how you want to when you want to.

Secondly, it develops your body awareness. Much of the time our problems in riding come from unintentional mistakes or movement. For example, how many times has your riding instructor corrected the same mistake over and over again. When you start to notice what you are doing you can more easily correct your mistakes permanently. Your awareness also allows better communication with your horse, and thus improves your riding performance.

Finally, all of this is possible because EQUESTRIAN PILATES® is a core conditioning program that improves your posture, strength, flexibility, and balance.

By adapting traditional Pilates exercises to the specific needs of equestrians and by pointing out the connection of the exercises to the needs of the rider, EQUESTRIAN PILATES® gives simple and profoundly effective practices to keep you healthy, injury-free, horse-fit and aware.

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® is not riding instruction, but it will give you the steps to make your body what it needs to be to get the ride you want. Riders will find that many of their riding difficulties disappear as they practice this program. They may find that many problems associated with the horse also disappear as their body, their balance, their confidence and their communication with the horse change.

This happens by conditioning the equestrian through a series of exercises specifically designed to teach proper form and alignment while also increasing strength, flexibility and balance.

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® will show how to build awareness of movement, strengthen your body specifically for riding, and balance your body side to side, front to back and inside to outside. These steps will be accompanied with explanations of the connection to the ride. The reader will be able to see how conditioning any part of their body can impact their riding health, efficiency, and performance.

Once you are strong and balanced and can notice and focus on how your body moves, you can use this newfound ability to focus on your horse’s flexibility, balance, and strength.

This is the beginning of a truly great ride, one in which we move in tandem and grace with our horse. EQUESTRIAN PILATES® will help you go to a whole new level with one of the most important relationships in your life, the one between you and your horse. Your horse will definitely appreciate it, so…here’s to a great ride.

I look forward to seeing what a powerful team you and hour horse can be!

Elizabeth Hanson, founder of EQUESTRIAN PILATES®