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Kerry Picken

Equestrian Equitation Coach

Horses have been a part of Kerry’s life since she was 7, trying many disciplines along the way from western pleasure, barrel racing, equitation, eventing and most recently classical dressage.  For 14 years, she was the general manager of the elite warmblood facility, where her passion for dressage began.  Since then, she’s continued to study classical dressage.   

Pilates became part of her life while managing the warmblood facility.  While she had worked out for most of her life, she didn’t realize how unbalanced her body was until starting pilates.  Pilates taught her body awareness, created a different kind of strength and gave her more flexibility that she was able to incorporate into her riding.   And then she became inspired to teach others what she had learned so they too could have the strength, stability, flexibility, mobility and balance in everyday life as well as in the saddle.   



Advanced Pilates Instructor, 2015
Associate Pilates for Dressage Instructor, 2015
Level 1 RideFit Instructor, 2016​

Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach 2016


Kerry has helped me more than I could have imagined with my overall fitness and riding. I am a mom of two young kids who let home life take a backseat to my health. I’m also a former gymnast and USA Gymnastics coach with 20 years experience training Junior Olympic athletes (so, no novice to the fitness world). I had a surgery in October 2017 and prior to, was a new rider. I was a little too heavy on my hands constantly pulling my knees up loosing stirrups and could not post in a trot for more than a few laps because I was so weak. In such a short amount of time doing Pilates with Kerry I can say I can't recall the last time I've lost a stirrup. My core and legs are so much stronger that I can ride a nice, loose rein and I don't tire from posting or training at all. All of this very fast progression is on top of a recent major abdominal surgery! I am so confident in my riding and just life in general. I sincerely do not think I would have advanced so quickly in my recovery, health or riding without her.


Dawn R.

Kerry's work with me on the horse has changed my life.  That is no exaggeration!  I will remember her forever for that. As a matter of fact, I want Kerry to come and do a clinic here for people I know who would gain much insight from her.


Kerrys's Equine Pilates is the most relevant adjunct piece to the overall Equestrian Arts program.  She is professional and tunes in to specifics of rider's seat, balance and position in a way that no one has for me before.  In addition -and the most important part-she communicates the nuances in simple wording regarding body parts and movement that I can easily relate to and replicate.

Betsy T

I am an adult amateur rider. I have 3 horses. I enjoy exhibiting my horses when I can.
I have some postural challenge's that made themselves evident in pictures. This less than optimal posture in the saddle wasn't helping my horse in very collected movements like piaffe and passage either. Kerry Pickins had been coaching some of my riding buddies so I decided to give it a try. At first I did a clinic and some session with friends and over the last two years I worked up to an intensive session where Kerry and I did weekly sessions on the mat and a lesson of coaching in the arena. We did this for 4 months and I really noticed a difference, and so did friends and my instructor as well. I was consistent with my exercises and it payed off. I also taped on my iPad a session for me to review when I need to, this keeps me practicing properly. Last summer Kerry coached be via FaceTime so that while I was away from AZ I kept building strength. Core strength is not easy it seems that it is key to so much though, not just in equestrian endeavor's but also in the rest of your life as well. My postural habits still can creep in when I get tired or stressed. Kerry and I have had many sessions where we discussed whole life health. She is very experienced at the balancing act of life, proper diet, stress reduction and over all well being. She is a supper gal. I hope by this point you can gather that however you have the opportunity to experience working with Kerry, a class, a clinic, coaching in the arena or on the mat, you will be better for it as a rider, and in the rest of your life. I can 't say I "love" palates but I love what it does for my life,  and I do "love" Kerry. "Thank You Kerry" from the bottom of my heart❣


Wendy D

As a physical therapist, I was able to intellectually understand how my body is supposed to work while riding my horse, but I was not getting as good of results as I wanted. 
I worked with Kerry Picken who's specialty is body mechanics for the equestrian. She helped me get the body awareness and clarity I needed to progress and have greater success dancing with my horse. She coached me both on and off of the horse to turn the intellectual skills into physical reality. 


Julia A

This year I am learning how to piaffe and passage on my horse.  Without the work I have done with Kerry I doubt i would be able to even try to do the movements.  The ability to stabilize my core and adjust to the horse’s movement with the rest of my body has immensely improved my riding.  Everyone has a stronger more flexible side which shows up in the saddle.  Working with her has helped me balance out the sides of my body. Its still a work in progress but eighty percent improvement from where I started.   Kerry has a unique perspective from being a rider and a Pilates instructor.  Your trainer maybe telling you to do something but Kerry can figure out what he/she is looking for and explain it to you in relation to your body and the horse.

She can translate body position adjustments quickly with amazing results -just ask my horse.


Kim P. 

I have known Kerry Picken for several years having met her at a Manuel Trigo
clinic featuring Pilates for riders.  Since then I have had the pleasure of working with
her on a number of horses and riders.  I have a different perspective from most in that I have been involved with helping riders professionally for more than fifty years. Kerry combines her expertise as a horsewoman with an in-depth knowledge of human physiology through her Pilates training. I have not experienced anyone who can see the correlation
of rider posture and movement to the performance of the horse the way Kerry can.  She not only can see it, she has answers to fix the problems.  No matter what your level, beginner or expert, if you would like to attain the highest level of performance with your horse, I would highly recommend working with Kerry.  She can also help you perform better in day to day life with her Pilates instruction.

David Peters 

After only 10 sessions off the horse with Kerry, both my horses are going better.  Their self carriage and strength and flexibility in all three gaits has improved drastically in direct alignment with my own improvement through Kerry’s assistance.
Kerry is not only an expert Pilates instructor but has an impeccable eye, an easy communication style, unflappable personality and sense of humor every equestrian expert needs to perfect riders posture.  


Marsha Ferrick, PHD, Bcc

A good friend of mine (a dressage rider) recently asked me what kind of exercise I would recommend to help improve her riding.  My response was "hands down - Pilates". Caveat - with an instructor that also is knowledgeable in the biomechanics of riding a horse!!! My introduction to this concept has been with Kerry Picken.    In one weekend I felt more flexible and stronger in my core.  I had the best ride I had ever experienced.  My horse and I were so together we felt like we were floating.  Kerry is not only knowledgeable in her field of pilates, but she is also an excellent horsewoman and combines the two to help her clients achieve the highest level of success with their horses.


 BA Peters

The clinic was super !   You helped identify biomechanics of my body as I tried to connect to my horses movement that were just wrong . The combination of mat work , simulations , and riding is great !  I think the Pilates ball was fun , but I think the simulations of how what we do feels to the horse has more mind and awareness benefits for riders.  That permanently changed my awareness of my seat, period.   I think working with you to develop rider body awareness was wonderful.  You helped me find me and that let him better understand my requests of him .  Super!

Sherry C.

I have been so pleased with the services provided by Kerry. I brought my 13-year-old daughter to see Kerry after a back injury.  My daughter had completed physical therapy and was urged continue strength training exercises to strengthen her core and keep her back pain free. Having done Pilates in the past, I knew it was one of the best core strengthening exercises.


Kerry not only continue my daughter on her path to recovery, but tailored her workouts to further her performance in her sport, Hunter/Jumper riding.  After a session or two in the gym with Kerry, we scheduled a session at the barn.  Kerry started the session with mat Pilates stretches and core work right in the barn isle.  Next, she joined my daughter, mounted on her horse, and her trainer in the arena. I knew instantly during this session that Kerry was the perfect long-term fit for us.  She worked collaboratively and respectfully with my daughter’s trainer to come up with ways to enhance my daughter’s riding and protect her middle back.  Little things Kerry said stuck, and a year later, I still hear my daughter’s trainer telling her to “roll like a ball”.  I love how Kerry was able to take things our trainer wanted to see improved in my daughter’s riding and turned them into exercise plans on the reformer and on the mat at home.


Kerry explains why or how the exercises she prescribes translate directly to posture and positioning on the horse.  Her knowledge of Pilates and riding are immense.  Bottom line, we love Kerry because she has kept my daughter pain free and laughing and having fun during EVERY workout.  I would highly recommend Kerry to anyone looking for professional services and a personal rapport.

 Leslie J. 

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