Cardio can improve stamina if you get winded while riding. Other exercises like pilates will improve core strength which is key. Also yoga will improve balance and flexibility to prevent injury.
I also used to practice martial arts which helped in many areas of my riding including falling off and situational awareness on the ground. Good luck with your riding goals.
I train beginner to intermediate riders (up to 3ft) and have done a fair share of dressage and western. I’m also studying personal training at the moment. My text book is focused on non horse related sports but has a whole chapter dedicated to why strength training is so important! Core lifts like deadlifts, squats, bench press etc are vital to strengthen the body enough for sport specific exercises. Cardio at least 2x a week is ideal. Daniel Stewart has created sport specific exercises for equestrians that are also fabulous!
To improve stamina running and swimming are the best sports for me!
Regarding the muscles groups riders need to work on, you have the shoulder blades, back and spinal muscles, abdominals, hip adductors, abductors and extensors.
Cardio will help you build all these muscles but you can do specific exercises for each, you just have to look on YouTube some videos there are plenty to work on specific muscles groups 🙂
I personally do lots of riding trots and two points during trot and canter and also over at least three cavalettis trotting length apart:)
Personally I just hit the gym three times a week. Concentrate on some steady state cardio like the elliptical which is low impact or jogging, and then compound moevements like squats. I wouldn't focus on primarily one body part as riding requires strength in your whole body, so combine lower and upper body work. It is crucial that you have a strong core or else riding you could start having back and neck pains, so abs and back strengthening exercises are a good choice. Stretching is also a great exercise that will stabilize you on your horse as you acquire a larger range of movement in your joints! It also prevents injury.
Don't over exert yourself though you want to keep most of your energy for when your on you're horse!
Best of luck,
Hi Ruby -
One way we improve stamina with our horses for eventing or jumping is long trots or hill work. Both provide a sustainable and low impact solution for stamina and cardio and often help with top line and other muscle building!