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Athletic Abilities of Riders


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Riding is an aerobic exercise because horse riders have the similar respiratory capacity compared to soccer player.” 















Physical Athletic Abilities: Definitions


Aerobic stamina * The ability to sustain a dynamic effort over an extended period of time (normally, efforts lasting several minutes, or even hours). Note: During efforts performed at maximal or near-maximal intensity and lasting between 3 and 20 minutes or so, performance is mainly determined by a subset of this athletic ability referred-to as “maximum aerobic power”.


Flexibility The ability to perform movements about a joint with the desired degree of amplitude, and without sustaining injury.


Speed * The ability to rapidly move the body over a given distance during an all-out effort of very short duration (8 seconds or less). It is also the ability to execute a particular movement, or series of movements, as fast as possible. 


Speed-endurance * The ability to sustain efforts at near-maximum speed for as long as possible (normally, very intense efforts lasting between 8 and 60 seconds).


Speed-strength * (also commonly referred-to as power) The ability to perform a muscle contraction or overcome a resistance as fast as possible (normally, very brief efforts of 1 or 2 seconds).


Strength endurance * The ability to perform repeated muscle contractions at intensities below maximum strength (normally, 15 to 30 repetitions or more).


Maximum strength The highest level of tension generated by a muscle or muscle group during a maximum contraction, regardless of the duration of the contraction.


Agility * The ability to execute movements or change body position and direction quickly and effectively.


Balance* The ability to achieve and maintain the desired level of stability while executing a task. There are three types of balance: (1) static balance: assuming a controlled body position in a steady environment (2) dynamic balance: maintaining control of the body’s position during movement, and/or stabilizing the body by performing muscular contractions to offset the effect of an external force and (3) the ability to keep an object or another body stable.


Coordination The ability to perform movements in the correct order, and with the right timing. Posture The ability to assume a correct body position prior to the execution of specific movements, to maintain it as may be required while performing the task, and to do so with the optimum degree of muscle tension. 


-2022 © Coaching Association of Canada & Equestrian Canada Developing Equestrian Athletic Abilities Coach Reference



Athletic Abilities of the Rider in Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing


Aerobic stamina General, whole body

-Dressage: Moderate. Lowest of the 3 disciplines

-Jumping: Moderate

Eventing: Moderate to high. Highest of the 3 disciplines.


Flexibility Neck, upper back, shoulders, trunk, hips, lower back, buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, ankles

-Dressage: High

-Jumping: High

-Eventing: High


Speed-strength (also commonly referred-to as power) Quadriceps; upper body

-Dressage: Low. Lowest of the 3 disciplines

-Jumping: Moderate to high. Highest of the 3 disciplines

-Eventing: Moderate


Strength-endurance Core muscles (upper and lower back, abdomen), shoulders, buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves.

-Dressage: High

-Jumping: High

-Eventing: High. Highest of the 3 disciplines.


Strength Core muscles (upper and lower back, abdomen), shoulders, buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves. Dressage: Moderate

-Jumping: Moderate. Highest of the 3 disciples

-Eventing: Moderate


Balance General, whole body

-Dressage: High

-Jumping: High

-Eventing: High


Coordination General, whole body

-Dressage: High

-Jumping: High

-Eventing: High


Posture Whole body. Determined by Balance, Flexibility, Core strength, Strength endurance

-Dressage: High

-Jumping: High

-Eventing: High



-Dressage: Low

-Jumping: Low

-Eventing: Low



-Dressag: Low

-Jumping: Low

-Eventing: Low


Mental Skills


Sports psychology or mental skills are an essential part of sport. Controlling and directing what you think about has a huge impact on controlling nerves and building confidence, producing your best performance possible, and promoting an overall sense of wellbeing about yourself and your performance. 

The Gold Metal Profile for Sports Psychology (GMP-SP) is a journal article aimed at educating people on the important mental skills needed for high level sports. I would argue that these skills hold value for people at all levels of sport as well as for school, work, and life in general. The article identifies 11 skills:


1.Motivation-your reason for engaging in sport

2. Confidence-the belief that you can be successful in your sport

3. Resilience-the ability to bounce back from a bad day

4. Self Awareness-knowing what you are thinking and feeling

5. Stress Management-the ability to cope with demanding situations

6. Emotion and Arousal Regulation-the ability to control your energy and emotions

7. Attentional Control-focusing on the right thing at the right time

8. Coach-athlete relationship-having trust, respect, and shared goals and values

9. Leadership-athletes my be formal leaders or informally influence the team and people around them

10. Teamwork-this includes getting along with the people you work with and your horse

11. Communication-includes verbal and non-verbal means and requires an open, safe environment





                                      You can read the entire article at the following link:                                                

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