Roll-Up Exercises For Abs: Horse Edition

Horses need to do roll-up exercises for their abs. Core strength helps them perform everyday tasks effortlessly. Find some great roll-up exercises for abs that you can do with your horse here!

If you train your horse a few times per week, they’ll gain enough muscle strength in their core to thrive in everyday tasks and competitions. Ab exercises help keep your horse fit, healthy, and strong. 

In this article, I share why core strength is important for horses, the best roll-up exercises, and how to keep your horse safe during training sessions.

The Importance Of Core Strength For Horses

A strong core is essential for horses, especially if they’re being ridden. Core strength enables a horse to control their joints during slips or trips, especially while carrying a rider.  

Being ridden can overstress ligaments, joints, and tendons. A strong core can help your horse maintain their vertebrae’s optimal alignment and shape. The abdominal muscles help to support a horse’s back. This significantly reduces the wear and tear on their spine.  

Core strength is also vital for the stability of a horse’s spine, pelvis and back. Strong core muscles make a horse less reliant on weaker muscles in the extremities and connective tissues in their limbs. This reduces their risk of injury. 

Core strength gives your horse a solid foundation for correct movement and balance. Both the top and bottom of your horse need to be aligned to function correctly.  

 How do I get my horse to lift Withers?

Each horse’s core stability differs. A strong core helps improve a horse’s posture. 

A great exercise to strengthen the core is roll-ups. This movement helps strengthen hollow back muscles and can help reduce the sagging of the abdominal muscles. Roll-ups are especially helpful after colic or kissing spine surgery. Remember that any exercise routine after surgery should only be undertaken after consulting your vet.

The Best Roll-Up Exercises For Abs

Roll-ups strengthen the back and abdominal muscles while stretching. A horse’s back can lock into position while they’re ridden. Here are some exercises you can do with your horse:

Tummy Lifts

When doing tummy lifts, you should apply firm pressure to the spot where your horse’s girth sits in the middle of their chest. You’ll need to encourage your horse to flex up through their ribs and back by doing this.  

Your horses will work their core muscles when doing roll-ups. Doing this before and after riding will give you a good idea of how stiff or mobile your horse’s spine is.  

Keep the pressure on this area firm without causing discomfort. This can be a very sensitive area for horses, and your horse may threaten to bite or kick.

 How do I get my horse to use his core?

Raised Walk Poles In-Hand

This exercise is done by placing a row of trotting poles approximately one meter apart flat on the floor. You should lead your horse over these poles, using either a long rein or in-hand.  

Encourage them to step over each pole at the walk, remaining in rhythm. Every time your horse lifts their feet, their core muscles engage, strengthening them.  

You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by lifting one or both ends of the pole to encourage your horse to step higher. 

Carrot Neck Stretches

Your horse’s pelvic and abdominal muscles will contract to prevent them from falling over when you ask them to bend to either side.  

The range of motion of both the spine and muscles is increased by these stretches. This also stabilizes these joints.  

You should use a contained area for these exercises. Stand with your back to your horse’s shoulder, then hold a carrot or other healthy treat just out of their reach. Ask your horse to bend around you and try to get it.  

 How do I strengthen my horse's abs?

Perform these movements on their right and left sides five times before giving your horse the treat.

  1. Nose to shoulder.  
  2. Nose to girth.  
  3. Nose to stifle.
  4. Nose to hocks.
  5. Nose down between front fetlocks.

Carrots work well with this exercise since they’re long enough to ensure your fingers are out of your horse’s reach.

Keeping Your Horse Safe During Ab Training

Horses can injure themselves while training their abs. Always maintain control of your horse’s lead to reduce their chance of hurting themselves.

Be careful not to stretch your horse’s muscles too far or fast. Start slow and steadily increase the intensity and frequency of the exercise routine. 

Always consult your vet before starting a new exercise routine, and ask for help from more experienced horse owners if you’re uncertain how a specific exercise should be done.

Final Words

Doing ab exercises with your horse will help strengthen their core muscles. Your horse uses these muscles with every move they make, so you should ensure this part of their body is well stretched, trained, and worked. 

There are easy beginner exercises and more advanced training methods to help your horse in every fitness level they reach!

I hope this article was helpful. If you try these ab exercises with your horse, let me know in the comments. You can also ask any question you have about horse training.


How do I strengthen my horse's abs?

The best way to strengthen your horse's abs is by doing roll-ups with them. Other ab training exercises will also help.

How do I get my horse to use his core?

You can encourage your horse to use their core by applying pressure to the spot in the middle of its chest where their girth sits. This will signal them to flex up and work their body.

How do I get my horse to lift withers?

You can get your horse to lift withers by encouraging them to exercise. This will strengthen their muscles and develop their skills.

How often should I exercise my horse?

It's best to exercise your horse two to three times a week. This will keep them fit and develop their muscles.