Horseback riding is an athletic endeavor. Just ask anyone who’s felt head-to-toe sore after a long day in the saddle. Like any other sport, the more physically fit you are, the better you’ll perform. You’ll also be less likely to suffer a riding-related injury. Additionally, horseback riding utilizes many muscle groups in the legs, abs, lower back, upper back and shoulders, chest, buttocks and arms. Horseback riding requires a huge amount of strength, balance and muscle control. In short, fitness for equestrians is important. Amateur riders can take a cue from other sports where cross-training is used extensively to boost performance in a chosen activity. While cross-training can’t replace riding, the following exercises can be used to gain strength and get fit when you aren’t able to ride. Click here for images of the exercises!