33 Strength and Fitness Workouts for Horses

Practical Conditioning Plans Using Groundwork, Ridden Work, Poles, Hills, and Terrain

Jec Aristotle Ballou



The go-to reference for riders and trainers aiming to improve equine conditioning in ways that are strategic, engaging, and fair to the horse.

For just about everything we do with horses—from trail riding to top level competition—a healthy state of fitness is key to both performance and longevity. Every horse will go better for longer if his mind and body are well prepared for the “ask.” 

When it comes to improving fitness, whether for humans or animals, the success of an exercise relies on dosage. How an exercise is applied, the duration and frequency of execution, and the weekly schedule within which it is incorporated determine its impact on fitness. 

Equine training and conditioning expert Jec Aristotle Ballou has now provided a book that takes the guesswork out of fitness gains. It clarifies how long and frequently to do a particular exercise and provides guidance in how to combine it with others for best results. The result is maximized health and athleticism in the horse. 

The 33 workouts in these pages help accomplish the performance goals that many riders strive for but fall short of reaching stronger, more agile, and more balanced horses. They do this by circumventing the tension, both physical and mental, that often spoils conditioning attempts made within a discipline-specific or skill-based training session. By providing the right amount of stimulus while avoiding boredom, fatigue, and habituated neuromuscular patterns, Ballou's workouts lead to positive physiological gains. Her plans include:

  • Ways to measure a horse's current fitness.
  • Guidelines for active and passive rest.
  • Basics for stretching, warming up, and improving mobility.
  • Unique groundwork that keeps both you and your horse engaged.
  • Hill hikes and terrain tests with multiple benefits.
  • Suggested schedules for basic fitness goals, as well as special considerations for young horses and trail riders. 

With easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and clear illustration, this book is a fundamental piece of any conscientious rider's training plan and a key component to keeping horses performing happily for more years of their lives.

Additional Information

Author: Jec Aristotle Ballou

Format: Hardcover concealed spiral

Page Count: 144

Illustrations: 75 color photographs

ISBN: 9781646011865

By Jec Aristotle Ballou

Jec Aristotle Ballou has spent her life with horses, studying dressage around the globe alongside a tireless passion for equine exercise physiology. She has written and presented extensively on the subject of equine fitness and conditioning. Ballou is a tireless advocate for the horse, committed to promoting the understanding that quality athletic movement can never happen as a result of shortcuts, force, or hurried training methods. Through her clinics, articles, and bestselling books—including 101 Dressage Exercises for the Horse and Rider; Equine Fitness; and 55 Corrective Exercises for Horses—Ballou aims to meet what she sees as an enormous need within the equine industry for simple, clear, and practical information (jecballou.com).

Find out more about Ballou's books:

55 Corrective Exercises for Horses

33 Strength and Fitness Workouts for Horses