February 24, 2020

More Thoughts on the Equicore Concepts Equiband System

We're now about three weeks into using the Equicore Concepts band system, so I thought I'd give an update.

Mah precious
I'm in love with them.  Although I don't think they're for everyone or every horse.

All of the rest of the photos in this post are courtesy of Austen, who took some AWESOME photos of us at my barn a couple of months ago


My trainer and I have seen dramatic changes in Connor.  His default way of traveling is different, for the better.  He lifts his back, engages his abs, "puffs out" underneath me, has more impulsion and  better hind end engagement.  He also travels with his underneck soft and open by default, which is a freaking miracle with this horse.


It's not fool-proof though, it requires a lot from me for them to be beneficial to him.  He likes to translate all that impulsion the bands give him into splatting on his forehand, and/or going really fast as an evasion. It's very much a finesse thing to get him to use the bands for good and not for evil.


Pulling is always bad, but I feel like it's extra bad when using the bands - the horse has something around his butt saying "GO" and your hands are saying "WHOA".  The good news is, with that much impulsion and engagement, it's easy for me to sit with a good, solid position, and my half halts are SO much more effective, so I'm less inclined to pull.



Three weeks in, we've just now worked him up to the point where he's ridden with them for an entire 45 minute ride.  I'm not sure how many weeks I'll ride with them until I try my first ride without them - maybe a month?  I want that muscle memory and the muscles themselves to be good and used to this new way of riding before I play around with riding without them, but I also don't want to still be riding in bands 100% of the time as we approach our first show of the season in April.


My heart.  He's the actual best.

Some horses will benefit a lot more than others with these, I don't think they're a miracle one-size-fits-all thing.  For a pulling breed that wants to travel with his hind legs behind him, his head high and his underneck engaged, they are ridiculously helpful.  If your horse isn't a pulling breed, I think you'd still see a difference, but it may not be quite as dramatic as I've seen.



PSA: Your horse needs to be super solid if you want to use these without a ground person.  You have to walk around your horse while pulling hard on his butt with a rubber band in order to put these on (did I mention they're under an enormous amount of tension when adjusted correctly?), and the fact that Connor doesn't voluntarily leave the scene when I do this at the mounting block every day is a testament to what a Good Boy he is.

(Even though he's great with them, I still only ride with them under very carefully chosen conditions (The indoor. On non-windy days.  When our resident skunk isn't around.  And it's not raining. After lighting a votive candle at the nearest church)).


Finally, is this a shortcut (negative connotation)?  They ARE a gadget - which I am not opposed to on principle, look at how much humans can accomplish when they add resistance training.  And maybe I should be able to achieve these fairly basic principles of Dressage without a gadget.  But after struggling to solve these problems for years without really ever overcoming them (and since I'm using them to help him recover from back pain and atrophied back muscles) seeing the possibilities that the bands have laid before us is enticing.  I feel like I'm self-aware enough to use them in an effective way and then hopefully set them aside for infrequent use.

If anyone ends up getting them, let me know, I'm curious what you think.

13 comments:

  1. These are super fascinating to me! Having spent a lot of time with resistance bands in PT recently, I'd have to say they help tie together muscles that otherwise don't talk.(But totally SHOULD, ugh.) I can see how this would be so helpful for a horse that prefers to keep the hind end out, and not engage the abs. I wonder what Bast would think of them, but he's a little too unpredictable. Maybe I'll try a polo wrap. Haha.

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    1. Starting with a polo wrap wouldn't be a bad idea! It's going to have a very different effect on the body since it's not under tension, but would be useful for getting them used to moving with stuff touching them. And I've also seen it used to help baby racehorses develop proprioception.

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    2. I used an ace wrap on a dog to teach him some hind end awareness. I imagine a polo or ace wrap on a horse would do similar.

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  2. Curious if it ever pinches him or pulls out hair?

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    1. It hasn't so far, and I would think it would show up pretty clearly right now since he's clipped very closely, but with a lot of guardhairs on his belly and HQ right where the bands go. Even the guard hairs aren't damaged. But I don't know how it will work when he gets sweaty.

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  3. hmmmmm this sounds like an interesting future idea for zb

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    1. Fellow pulling breeds of the world, unite!

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  4. These seem super cool! I've seen a few people use them but not many actual write-ups about it.

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    1. You're going to get a long-term review from me, I love them.

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  5. This device fascinates me and I hope more people get it so I can learn more about it before I ever take the plunge lol

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    1. Ask away! I am so thrilled with it. I'm not saying it was entirely due to the bands, but the vet was back out this morning and confirmed his back pain has 100% gone away in the last three weeks, whereas three weeks ago he was dropping his back away from her hand like it was hot.

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  6. Very interesting. I'm glad to hear that you are seeing such an improvement with Connor.

    I'd love to try it on my QH as he is a big rangy lad and it sounds like this system would help him engage his muscles properly.

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    I never know if this is polite or pushy. I figure I would want to know.

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