Call us 24/7 - 1-800-461-8898

Fit to Ride

fit to ride header

Team SmartPak rider Hope Glynn
Team SmartPaker rider Hope Glynn knows that riding requires a considerable level of fitness in both the horse and the rider. But traveling around the country to horse shows can make it challenging to make workouts a priority. That’s why she has a fitness routine for when she’s at home and a plan for how to squeeze in workouts when she’s away at horse shows.
Hope’s Fitness Routine
I do sprint triathlons and recently completed my first half-marathon in September. I like to have something on the calendar even if it’s a couple months away, whether it be a small 5k or longer race, because it keeps me motivated. When I am home, I work with a trainer or in a group cross fit class. Having a coach helps me work on my problem areas and pushes me to work harder. I think you have to do a mix of cardio and weight lifting to get the most out of your workouts. I cross train. I try not to do the same thing two days in a row.

Hope’s Perfect Week
I like to work out in the morning (I’m too tired in the evening!)
Monday I take a CrossFit class that focuses more on cardio and legs
Tuesday I do a barre class working long muscles and lots of reps
Wednesday I swim
Thursday I take off
Friday I run
One weekend day I choose whatever I want — maybe cycling, hiking, or playing basketball with my daughter.

When it comes to working out during a horse show, it’s much harder. The days I show, I don’t work out because I am usually at the barn for twelve hours and riding a ton. The days I coach, I try to do anything I can fit in, like running a mile or two, bringing fifteen-minute video PX series, or adding some sit-ups and push-ups. Even twenty minutes is better than nothing! Exercise and fitness makes me a better rider as well as a physically and mentally happier person.

Team McLeod, led by Team SmartPak rider Michele McLeod
Running barrels at the NFR in Las Vegas requires a considerable level of fitness in both the horse and the rider. But traveling around the country from rodeo to rodeo can make it challenging for #TeamMcLeod—led by Team SmartPak rider Michele McLeod—to make workouts a priority. For when they can find the time, they have a comprehensive workout that targets key muscle groups, but can be performed just about anywhere (including in the barn aisle!).
Team McLeod’s Fitness Routine
(When time allows)
Back and legs
Warm-up: 100 regular squats (can be split up into two sets of 50). Make sure you’re getting low and digging in with your heels.
Straight leg deadlifts with a heavy barbell weight or dumbbell in each hand.
Sumo squats with kettle bell or holding the top of a dumbbell.
Sumo deadlifts with a heavy kettle bell. Your leg stance should be wider than your shoulders. Don’t forget to squeeze your glutes (your butt) at the top.
Reverse lunges holding dumbbell in each hand. Repeat once on each side.
Side step-out lunges holding same dumbbell. Repeat once on each side.

Warm-up: three sets of 20 triceps dips on the bench (body weight only).
Overhead tricep extension— ideally on a cable with rope attachment.
Tricep kickbacks with dumbbell in each hand.
One arm overhead tricep extensions. Repeat once on each side.
Both arm tricep overhead extensions with a single, heavier dumbbell.
Tricep dips on assisted or traditional dip machine, if available.

fit tips frmo the pak header
“With yoga you can focus on your breathing, which is super important when riding because it helps you focus and stay in the moment. Yoga also helps to keep your body strong, but at the same time, loose and safe from injury.” – Michelle M. from Customer Care

“In the summer I kayak, which is a great upper-body workout, and in the winter I crosscountry ski and snowshoe, both of which are full-body workouts. All three activities can be strong cardio workouts if you push yourself!”
—Jen B. from the SmartPak Store

“I do a few things to stay fit, including playing field hockey every weekend. In addition to keeping me fit, field hockey improves my reaction time and ability to really see what’s going on around me, not just what’s right in front of me. This awareness is important when riding with others in a ring and also when out on the trails – I notice other things happening out and around us so I’m more attuned to our surroundings and better prepared if my horse reacts to something.”
– Sara R. from Customer Care

tai chi
Tai Chai
“What I find most fascinating about my tai chi practice is how so many of the individual techniques and underlying concepts mirror those in riding. Much of the subtle advice to improve or correct a posture or movement is advice I’ve heard from a riding coach or read in an equestrian magazine.”
—Dr. Lydia Gray, Staff Veterinarian

strength training
Strength Training
“Using a stability ball can help you improve strength, balance, and flexibility all in the same workout. And the ball isn’t just for abs—doing moves like push-ups, squats, and planks using an unstable surface challenges multiple muscle groups at once, for maximum results.”
—Sara F. from Creative

“I typically work out in a gym five days a week! I focus on weight lifting and metabolic workouts (which are high intensity, short intervals of body weight exercises). These exercises keep my cardiovascular system in shape and also keep my muscles toned and strong. Riding is a workout in itself, but I feel that my lower body workouts – like squats and lunges – help me have a better seat and leg in the saddle. My upper body and ab workouts help with my posture and keep me from slouching while riding.”
– Megan M. from Customer Care

“I love distance running. It helps build endurance and a healthy cardiovascular system, and supports core strength. Plus, it helps release tension and gets your mind focused.”
—Ellen B. from Customer Care

“I go to barre workouts, which are very good for strengthening legs and help with balance. They’re inspired by ballet, so many of the moves are based on classic ballet positions.”
—Julia R. from Customer Care

Posted in Stories & Adventures, Team SmartPak

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Share it:
You'll this

SmartCombo™ Senior Pellets

As Low As: $57.95
(265 reviews)
Healthy Horses  ❤  Happy Riders