STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Think horse riding isn't physically demanding? Think again ...

For those who think horse riding doesn't require much athletic ability, think again.For former Olympic showjum...

Posted: Jun 6, 2018 11:19 AM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 11:19 AM

For those who think horse riding doesn't require much athletic ability, think again.

For former Olympic showjumping champions Steve Guerdat and Laura Kraut, fitness has become an integral part of their training regime.

Rider fitness important part of jumping at the highest level

2008 Olympic champion Laura Kraut works out up to five days a week

2017 LGCT winner Harrie Smolders excelled at soccer in his youth

"I work out regularly, probably more four or five days of the week," Kraut, a 52-year-old American who won team gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, told CNN.

"Particularly as I am getting older, I feel like it's more and more important to keep your core strong because so much of riding is balance," she said. "It's not so much leg strength, or arm strength, it's the core strength that's very, very important."

Cardio and strength training

Kraut, who is based in the UK and Florida, said her fitness routine consists of a mixture of cardiovascular and strength training.

"When I am in Florida, I have a trainer there," said Kraut, who is also an equestrian coach. "He has a program that's geared towards riders. It's a lot of different exercises with weights and ropes and lunges and ball tossing, he's got it all. Just that mixed with cardio, I prefer to run."

For Guerdat, the winner of individual showjumping gold at the London Olympics, working out has always been a part of his life.

The son of a former show jumper and coach who learned to ride when he was just three years old, Guerdat played soccer in an Under-16 team in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in his early teens.

Although he eventually picked show jumping over scoring goals, he has maintained a strict fitness regime.

"I work out a lot, because I like it," Guerdat, 35, told CNN. "For a few years, I've had some back issues, I've had a back operation nine years ago and from that, I started to take it very seriously.

"I'm working out five to six times a week, an hour or an hour-and-a-half every day. That's because it makes me feel good and I think it makes me ride better."

READ: Tops-Alexander returns from maternity leave with win

Harrie Smolders

Not all riders dedicate as much time and energy as Kraut and Guerdat to their own fitness.

Take Harrie Smolders, the winner of the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour.

Just like Guerdat, the 37-year-old Dutchman was a talented soccer player in his teens.

But now, with a stable of horses to train, coaching and a young family, there isn't much time left to go to the gym.

"I don't have as much time for that [as Guerdat]," Smolders told CNN. "But of course, your core stability and a certain amount of endurance are important," he added.

"For sure, some people don't need it and are absolutely fine without," said Guerdat. "I think it's good for me and my riding."

READ: Smolders crowned Longines Global Champions Tour winner

Rider safety

For Kraut, working out is also key when it comes to rider safety.

Athletes competing on the elite Longines Global Champions Tour for the word's top show jumpers typically compete with horses weighing up to 800 kilograms over jumps as high as 1.60m, which can be as wide as a small car.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news and features

"Agility is key," said Kraut. "Falls can happen in a millisecond. But if your reaction can be just that little bit quicker, it can hopefully prevent something catastrophic from happening."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 9294

Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah230169
Marion156447
Washington144620
Clackamas77324
Umatilla6204
Union3471
Lincoln3272
Deschutes1920
Lane1803
Linn1549
Polk14912
Malheur1401
Jackson1310
Yamhill1318
Jefferson1260
Klamath1231
Hood River880
Benton835
Wasco751
Morrow721
Clatsop490
Douglas440
Coos410
Josephine411
Columbia310
Lake190
Tillamook120
Crook110
Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 246550

Reported Deaths: 6265
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1077923457
Riverside18720465
San Diego15207377
Orange15065354
San Bernardino13152265
Imperial6824100
Alameda6384138
Fresno562677
Kern493977
Santa Clara4750159
Tulare4521133
San Joaquin429855
San Francisco371950
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3376108
Contra Costa332678
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Kings258332
Marin244619
Stanislaus239144
Monterey174815
Solano147625
Sonoma12299
Merced120811
Placer75411
San Luis Obispo6752
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4103
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1384
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 48°
Grants Pass
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Klamath Falls
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 48°
Beautiful 4th of July Weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events