The Athletic Equestrian

Over 40 Exercises for Good Hands, Power Legs, and Superior Seat Awareness

Sally Batton and Christina Keim




A proven rider training system to sharpen position and vastly improve skill in the saddle.

Whether competing in the show ring or riding at home on the trail, every rider wants to be more secure and balanced in the saddle and effective with their aids. This innovative guide uses highly effective exercises to develop your athleticism on horseback so you can say goodbye to common rider problems, such as:

  • Swinging lower legs.
  • Stiff arms.
  • Trouble balancing over the horse’s center of gravity.
  • Half-halts that go unanswered.
  • Incorrect mechanics, on the flat and in the jumping position.
  • And more.

    Division I collegiate riding coach Sally Batton has spent over 30 years perfecting her methods specifically designed to refine and polish riders, whatever their level. In her work with hundreds of varsity team athletes, she found that trouble with position and lack of specific horsemanship skills happens for two reasons: First, riders may not have an understanding of the biomechanics required to maintain the correct position. Second, they may not have attained the suppleness and strength required to maintain a fluid, elastic position on the horse.

    Her secret to combatting these difficulties won her teams dozens of championships and awards through the years. Here you learn both her time-proven warm-up and her exciting “Equicize” routine: a series of progressive exercises similar to aerobics on horseback. Batton's recommendations help you build and strengthen the major muscle groups used by equestrian athletes, and all exercises can be customized so you can raise or lower the intensity as needed to suit your age, level, and riding style. Plus, readers find dozens of creative training “hacks” that will get them on their way to greater levels of riding proficiency in no time at all. 

    Additional Information

    Author: Sally Batton and Christina Keim

    Format: Paperback

    Page Count: 184

    Illustrations: 259 color photos

    ISBN: 9781646010516

    By Sally Batton and Christina Keim

    Sally Batton holds an Equestrian Studies degree from Lake Erie College in Ohio, and a master’s degree in Communications from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey. She was the head coach of the Dartmouth College Division I Varsity Equestrian Team for 30 years, coaching dozens of riders to regional, zone, and national titles. In 2020, Coach Batton was inducted into the inaugural class of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Hall of Fame. She currently travels all over the United States, teaching clinics to riders of all ages and levels. An avid polocrosse enthusiast, Batton is a certified APA Polocrosse Coach and the author of Polocrosse: Australian Made, Internationally Played (Belcris, 1990). Batton is the Founder and President of the Athletic Equestrian League, an organization offering horsemanship education and competition opportunities to both English and Western riders, from first grade through adult. She is also the host of the popular Athletic Equestrian Riding in College Podcast. An avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, when not on the road teaching, Batton can be found hiking the hills of New Hampshire, kayaking in the summers, and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter ( 

    Christina Keim, M Ed, MFA, is an award-winning narrative journalist with over 1,000 published articles to her credit. Her work has appeared in The Chronicle of the Horse, UnTacked, Equine Journal, Practical Horseman, The Eastern Equerry, Northeast Equestrian Life, Green Mountain Horse Association Magazine, Woodstock Magazine, and The Plaid Horse, among others. For nearly two decades a top intercollegiate hunter seat coach, Keim now teaches compassionate horsemanship and offers equine-assisted coaching out of her Cold Moon Farm in Rochester, New Hampshire (

    Northeast Equestrian Life Says:

    “This is a book that you will refer back to time and time again.”