equestrian workout routines

The Workout Routines of Top Equestrian Athletes

Wellington Florida is the equestrian capital of the United States. With the Polo Center just steps away from our gym and the Wellington Equestrian Center nearby, we thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce you to some of today’s top equestrian athletes and their regular workout routines.

1. Chantal Sutherland — 43 years old — Canada. Sport: North American Thoroughbred Racing (Jockey). Chantal rode her first horse at the tender age of three. At the age of 13, she realized that women could be jockeys and the path to her vocation began. In 2012, she was the first female jockey to win the Hollywood Gold Cup. She starts her day at 5 AM and usually spends time in the sauna. When asked how often she works out, she says, “Six to seven days a week. … I love Pilates and yoga and running right now. I love all three in one day … run first, Pilates and yoga to cool down.”

2. Ellesse Jordan Tzinberg — 28 years old — The Philippines. Sport: Dressage. Ellesse was born in Malaysia to an American/Australian father and a Filipino/Spanish mother. She started riding at the age of four and by the time she was twelve, she was winning competitions. About her off-horse workouts, she says, “I love Pilates and I think it’s really great for all riders…I do that a lot and that really helps with posture. Dressage is so much about the core working, and so much so that you don’t really want to be seen moving very greatly, everything is about very minuscule movements – very strong small movements so Pilates in my experience really trains those muscles. Then I always thought boxing was great for all riders just because you’re using your entire body, you’re using you balance, you’re using coordination, hand eye coordination, speed, controlled movement, and there’s a lot of rhythm.” Ellesse likes to do something else with her body on her non-riding days. Her goal is to train the muscles that support the muscles she uses to ride.

3. Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden — 55 years old — USA. Sport: Show Jumping. Beezie was born in Milwaukee and began riding at the age of three. She won team gold medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. In 2018 she won the World Cup at the age of 54, the oldest athlete to do that. In addition to her hours of riding, she works out once a day and three times a week with a trainer. She says, “I have somewhat of a problem with my lower back so I do a lot of stretching every morning. Then, I try to do a lot of core strength work. When I’m in Florida, we go to the gym 3 nights a week and meet with a trainer.”

4. Guenter Seidel — 58 years old — Germany. Sport: Dressage. Guenter was born in Bavaria Germany. He moved to the United States in 1985 and was a member of the bronze-medal winning dressage team in 1996, 2000, and 2004. He is known for his classic, clean riding style. You’ll see why after watching this video where “In these 3 drills Guenter is forced to balance on an unstable surface and complete movements that strengthen all the muscles of his core- the hips, obliques, lower back and of course abs.”

5. Max Charlton — 27 years old — UK Sport: Polo. Max was born and raised in Windsor England and was first introduced to polo at the age of 12. He was hooked immediately and became a full-time team player when he was tapped to fill in for an injured team member. The team won two tournaments and Max’s handicap has gone up every year since then. He plays an average of four polo games a week year-round. When he’s not competing he’s in the gym playing squash because it exercises the same muscle groups he uses in polo. He is also a big fan of swimming. He says, “It’s all about core strength, being flexible and nimble, that’s the ideal you are looking for.”

Whether you are an equestrian athlete or someone who wants to be in the best shape possible, you can learn a lot from how professional equestrians approach fitness. In addition to the hours on their horse, the most successful athletes make time for off-horse workouts. They commit to including it in their busy schedules and so should you. Get into the gym!