Limited information exists concerning equitation as a viable form of physical activity. The study's purpose was to quantify effects of an equitation training program on health and physical fitness of college females. Following written informed consent, 15 college females enrolled in equitation and 10 controls (age = 23.6 +/- 2.5 years; ht = 165.3 +/- 5.3 cm; wt = 62.4 +/- 3.4 kg) underwent a comprehensive pre- and post-series of tests to assess cardiorespiratory response (Bruce; VO2(peak), HR(peak), VE(peak), RER(peak), MAP(peak), RPP(peak)), body composition (body mass, body fat, fat-free mass), muscular power [Wingate; peak and mean power (MP), total power output, fatigue index (FI)], muscular strength (curl-ups, reverse sit-ups, pushups, handgrip), blood chemistry, and coronary risk. The equitation group trained at various equine gaits for 14 weeks, 5 days/week. Multivariate analyses of variance (Wilks' Lambda) indicated a significant main effect of training across muscular power (F (4,25) = 3.965; P = 0.013), but not across cardiorespiratory response (F (11,18) = 1.472; P = 0.225), body composition (F (3,26) = 1.081; P = 0.375), or muscular strength (F (4,25) = 2.172; P = 0.102). Pre-post improvements in MP (+13.3%; P = 0.01), total work output (+11.8%; P = 0.015), and FI (-10.5%; P = 0.038) were observed. Nonsignificant improvements of 8.5-11.4% were observed in muscular strength and body composition. In conclusion, equitation does not provide an adequate stimulus to improve health and fitness in young adults. Individuals who participate in equitation need to supplement this activity with traditional aerobic and load-bearing training regimens.