For those of you who want to work out on your own at home or in the barn, I have created a three-part e-book series specifically designed to teach you an EQUESTRIAN PILATES® program that you can do on your own.

These e-books are available separately or as part of a 3 e-book package. Click here to purchase the e-book package.  All of the e-books are directly sold by EQUESTRIAN PILATES® and payment is through PayPal.

E-Book #1 of the 3 Part Series: Basic EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat Program

How to Make Your Horse Happy by Dramatically Improving Your Riding: An Off-the-Horse Rider Exercise Program for EVERY Discipline.

This e-book will teach you the Basic EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat program, how to assess your rider fitness and common problems that many riders face that can be improved by EQUESTRIAN PILATES®. Intermediate and advanced exercises will be mentioned periodically in this e-book and can be found in the EQUESTRIAN PILATES® E-book Series, Book #2 and #3.

It includes the following:

  • A 15-minute stretching routine
  • A 20-minute at-home program
  • A 15-minute barn program before and/or after you ride. This can also be done at home.

This program does not require any equipment. However, most people are more comfortable doing the exercises on a yoga mat.

Click here to purchase this e-book.

E-Book #2 of the 3 Part Series: Intermediate EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat Program

How to Make Your Horse Happy by Dramatically Improving Your Riding: An Off-the-Horse Rider Exercise Program for EVERY Discipline.

This e-book will teach you the Intermediate EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat program, how to assess your rider fitness and common problems that many riders face that can be improved by EQUESTRIAN PILATES®. Basic and advanced exercises will be mentioned periodically in this e-book and can be found in the EQUESTRIAN PILATES® E-book Series, Book #2 and #3.

It includes the following:

  • A 15-minute stretching routine
  • A 20-minute at-home program
  • A 15-minute barn program before and/or after you ride. This can also be done at home.

The difference between this book and the Basic program is that the exercises are harder and require a higher level of fitness. If you are someone who exercises regularly you should still consider starting at the basic level program if Pilates is new to you.

The intermediate level program also requires the following:

Click here to purchase the Intermediate Level E-book.

E-Book #3 of the 3 Part Series: Advanced EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat Program

How to Make Your Horse Happy by Dramatically Improving Your Riding: An Off-the-Horse Rider Exercise Program for EVERY Discipline.

This e-book will teach you the Advanced EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat program, how to assess your rider fitness and common problems that many riders face that can be improved by EQUESTRIAN PILATES®. Basic and intermediate exercises will be mentioned periodically in this e-book and can be found in the EQUESTRIAN PILATES® E-book Series, Book #2 and #3.

It includes the following:

  • A 15-minute stretching routine
  • A 20-minute at-home program
  • A 15-minute barn program before and/or after you ride. This can also be done at home.

The difference between this book and the other two e-books is that the exercises are harder and require a higher level of fitness, even the intermediate level. If you are someone who exercises regularly you should still consider starting at the basic level program if Pilates is new to you.

The advanced level program also requires the following:

Click here to purchase the advanced level e-book.

Commonly Ask Questions About EQUESTRIAN PILATES® and the E-book Series

Who will benefit from EQUESTRIAN PILATES®?

Riders of all disciplines and fitness levels will benefit from this program. It is designed to get and keep the equestrian body healthy, strong and fit for life. Practitioners will find many riding problems disappearing as they practice EQUESTRIAN PILATES®.

I have purchased all three e-books in the series.  Why is the book the same information and only the exercises change? There are a few reasons for this.  From a technical stand point, there are so many photos in the book that I divided the e-book into three sections to keep the file size of each e-book smaller.  I also wanted to give people the opportunity to only purchase the basic, intermediate or advanced section.  That way if you only purchase one of the three you still can read about how and why EQUESTRIAN PILATES® works to improve riding.  Finally, regardless of whatever level you choose to practice, your specific reason to improve your ride can be the same no matter your fitness level and therefore why the program works to improve a particular “problem” stays the same.  For example, beginning level riders often has just as much low back pain as upper-level riders.

I don’t have a lot of time for exercise. Can I do this?

This program has been made as time-compact as possible while still being effective. Riders want time on the horse, not the exercise mat. The basic EQUESTRIAN PILATES® program takes only 20 minutes. It is recommended that the exercises be done 3 times per week for maximum effectiveness.

What is the cost of equipment to do the program?

Zero to $60. You may be more comfortable on an exercise mat than on the floor but it is not necessary. If you want a mat they can be purchased at many discount stores or almost any fitness store and cost as little as $10.  The Intermediate Program requires a theraband or lead rope and three-pound weights. The Advanced Program involves four pieces of equipment, the Pilates ball, a lead rope or theraband and three-pound weights. These can both be found at most fitness stores and cost combined between $25 and $60.

What will EQUESTRIAN PILATES® not do?

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® does not teach you how to ride. You may find some references to technique but only so that further explanations can be made of muscles or movements that apply to EQUESTRIAN PILATES® exercise.  Riding instruction will be left to your qualified instructor.

Why do I need EQUESTRIAN PILATES® if I am only riding for fun and not seriously showing?

The number one goal of EQUESTRIAN PILATES® is to condition the equestrian athlete and keep the equestrian body healthy – no matter what type of riding is preferred.

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.  EQUESTRIAN PILATES® not only increases core strength, but it teaches how to use the core muscles to control the movement of the limbs. This makes all movements more precise.

Almost everyone will find something in this book to help them, even if it is just the section on staying healthy doing barn chores. EQUESTRIAN PILATES® does something all riders need, it helps keep you healthy, feeling good and injury-free.

Do you have to be thin to do EQUESTRIAN PILATES®? 

You do not have to have the “perfect” body to do EQUESTRIAN PILATES® and it is important to exercise no matter your size. If you are very large you may have initial difficulties with some

positions. Skip those you cannot do and try them later as your body tones up.

Can I actually learn EQUESTRIAN PILATES® from a book?

The exercises have been written in great detail and accompanied by pictures so that you can learn them from the book. Before starting any exercise, read it thoroughly and make sure you understand all of the movements. Go slow and pay particular attention to form.

Can someone start Pilates at any age?

Pilates is possible for people of all ages. For the very young or elderly, movements sometimes must be individualized. However, customized Pilates programs are more necessary based on health problems than age. As we have said, consult your doctor and skip over any exercises that are uncomfortable for you. If it is appropriate, check back after a few weeks of EQUESTRIAN PILATES® and see how your body responds to those positions you eliminated.

Is Pilates for men? 

Currently, more women practice Pilates then men, but it was invented by a man who wanted to restore balance, strength, and flexibility to all bodies.  EQUESTRIAN PILATES® works on men just as well as women.  More and more male professional athletes are adding Pilates to their exercise regime including Tiger Woods, Jason Kidd, Curt Schilling, Ruben Brown, Charles Nardiello, and Rich Beem.

Will this help with osteoporosis?

Most people after the age of 40 have some degree of bone density change. There are tremendous variations in the level of osteoporosis, from minor changes barely recognizable on X-ray to severe and threatening levels.

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® is a weight-bearing exercise program that helps increase bone mass—a critical factor when preventing osteoporosis. But, EQUESTRIAN PILATES® might not be appropriate for everyone with this problem.  Please consult with your doctor before trying EQUESTRIAN PILATES® as there are movements that may not be advisable, depending on your condition.

Will this handle all of my riding problems?

Every question cannot be answered, especially without knowing the specifics of your riding trouble. What can be done is to do is give enough examples that you may see yourself and find a possible solution. Most importantly EQUESTRIAN PILATES® sets up a system that will work for almost any rider and will improve health and performance whether or not one specific problem is addressed.

How does this program improve coordination and reflexes?

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® increases coordination by stabilizing the powerhouse or trunk of the body and teaching you how to move your limbs from your center, creating more precise motion.  EQUESTRIAN PILATES® also improves focus on the mind-body connection, better equipping you to feel what is moving, what you want to move and what you need to move that way.  Your reflexes are also increased with a heightened mind-body connection as you are better able to anticipate what movements are needed, when you need them, without a delayed reaction to the situation.

What do I need to be able to do this program?

Just the desire to have a great ride. You need no workout partners, no special exercise rooms, and no equipment until you have progressed to Advanced EQUESTRIAN PILATES®.

The exercises look like those I have done before. They well may. The difference is how they are done, the awareness used to specifically build the desired muscles and the applications to riding.

One of the keys to Pilates exercise is absolute attention to form. It is not important how much weight you can move how far. What is vital is that you perform the motion in the way that builds the exact muscles you want to build, that you establish the mind-body connection that builds muscle memory and that you become aware of the muscles you use, how you use them and when you compensate for them.

Do I need to do anything before I start?

As with any exercise program, consult your physician before beginning.

Is there anything else I can do to improve my riding fitness?

EQUESTRIAN PILATES® does not handle every fitness question you may have. There are other factors in complete fitness. The addition of a cardio-vascular program is helpful to any activity. This information is not included here. There are dozens of books with a variety of programs, one of which may well suit you. The main reason not to include a specific cardio-vascular program is that the most important factor, in that choice, is that you enjoy it. Few people stay with a fitness program that they do not enjoy. We would also suggest finding a cardio-vascular program that suits you, your body type and your state of current fitness. There are various options, running, walking, rowing, biking, aerobic dance and many more. Cardio-vascular fitness will help with every part of your health and will assist with your EQUESTRIAN PILATES® program.

If you are interested in advanced riding, showing or just wish to spend a great deal of time on horseback a traditional exercise program to strengthen the body in general is very helpful. If you pursue this course keep in mind what you learn in EQUESTRIAN PILATES®. Use awareness with movement and watch muscle balance inside to outside, side to side and front to back. Also remember that you will find significant strength increase in all of your muscles as your core strength for EQUESTRIAN PILATES® is added to each movement.

Another factor in fitness, of any kind, is diet. Riders monitor their horse’s diet in incredible detail and tend to spend much less time and attention on their own. Proper diet helps with circulation, assists in recovery from exercise and balances the systems of the body important for chemical balances. Chemical balance in the body is essential for recovery from exercise, making tissues and muscles flexible and healthy and for a quick recovery from stress or injury.

I hope you find your way to perfect riding fitness!

Elizabeth Hanson, founder of EQUESTRIAN PILATES®