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Best Exercise To Improve Position Over Fences

Panel Expert: Robin Martinez

Submitted by member: Laura

If I was only going to do one exercise to improve my position while jumping, what would it be?

Answer by Robin

Hands down it would be the squat! A correct squat perfectly mimics a correct position over fences.  I see many riders standing up in their stirrups in the air and pushing their hip forward (hands coming up) rather than hands forward, following the horses mouth and hips moving backwards. This habit is very difficult to address while on the horse. I’ve found much more success by having a rider practice a squat off the horse using a bench that is approximately the same height as their knees.

Squat exercise:

Stand with your backside facing a bench or chair, ideally the same height or lower than your knees. Pushing your hips back, reach for the bench with your bottom. Eyes and chest should stay up, not collapsed, hands in front of you as if you were holding your reins. The key to keeping your weight evenly balanced is to raise your big toe up just enough to touch the inside of your shoe. The biomechanics of lifting your big toe are the same as putting your weight in your heels when in the stirrup. After lightly grazing the bench push your hip forward to arrive back at the standing position then repeat. Try doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions daily then see how your position in the air improves. Happy riding!

If you’d like more personalized help, I offer virtual training to riders everywhere so I’d love to hear from you!

Blackjack Fitness


For more information on virtual training, visit my website:



Happy riding!


“A true horseman will only ask athletic feats of his horse if he has his own body under control.”

– from The Principals of Riding/German
National Equestrian Federation

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Robin Martinez

Robin and her husband Dionicio Martinez own Blackjack Farms, a beautiful and secluded 5+ acre ranch in North San Diego, with a very unique indoor/outdoor fitness facility. They have a well-equipped indoor gym, multiple permanent outdoor workout stations and a groomed running track. The fact that it's also the home of their show horses makes it truly one of a kind. There is also a limited amount of room for people to board their horses, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a horse facility and fitness facility all in one. Robin has fitness clients that ride and riding clients who workout. Its a wonderful harmony, everybody is fit around there - horses and riders alike. Robin's focus is on establishing core strength and building a foundation of fitness for her clients. As a competing rider herself, she uses that experience to create fitness programs geared specifically for equestrians to help them gain the strength and mobility they need to be at the top of their game. Her style is positive, fun, encouraging and pleasantly tough. For more information on Blackjack Fitness please visit her website at

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