When to Use
The Equiband® system is recommended for initial daily use, however, the goal of the system is to reduce use over time to one to two sessions per week as the horse learns to maintain his own core muscular strength. The Equiband® system recruits muscles that many horses do not normally use. To avoid fatigue and muscle soreness, the system must be used for short periods of time with regular walk/rest breaks during the session. Duration of use can be increased gradually as the musculature strengthens. It is known that neuromuscular adaptation to new exercise takes from four to six weeks, and it takes up to three months to gain full strengthen and condition. Once the horse is fully conditioned, use of the Equiband® system can be tapered down to weekly or biweekly use for maintenance of core strength and control. Individual results may vary and if any gait irregularity is noted, use of the Equiband® system must be ceased immediately and veterinary attention is advised.
How to Fit and Use the Equiband® System
1. Desensitize the Horse to the Touch of Equiband®
Gently rub Equiband® across the horse?s abdominal and hindquarter regions on both sides, and under the tail.
2. Fit the First Band
For this stage, have a helper present. Fit the Equiband® slowly and carefully, with sufficient tension to not hang loose. Handwalk, jog and lunge the horse. Even sensitive horses will rapidly accustom to the sensation of Equiband®. Some horses will show more difference in back flexion with the abdominal band, and others will be more reactive to band around the hindquarters. To start, apply only one band at a time and repeat the same process when introducing the horse to a second band.
3. Adjust the Band for Optimal Tension
Adjust the tension of the band prior to mounting. Equiband® is delivered pre-threaded and is adjusted by shortening or lengthening the band below the safety clip band through the triglides (below the safety clips) that attach the band to the saddle pad. Excess can be trimmed using scissors.
To adjust for ideal tension, take the band to full stretch and reduce it to less than 50% stretch, which is an optimal tension for use of Equiband®. Using the tape measure supplied, measure the distance between the two clips on the pad (between left and right sides: either along the hindquarter region or under the abdomen). The clips on the actual band can then be measured at no more than 50% or half of the distance apart. For example, if the distance between the two clips on the pad (left to right side) is 1.00m, the clips on the band should be no less than 50cm apart. Excess tension will inhibit movement.
4. Handjog and/or Lunge the Horse Prior to Mounting
Before mounting, handjog and trot or lunge the horse. Have a helper present when mounting the horse for the first time after fitting Equiband®. Allow the horse to accustom to the feeling of Equiband® at walk before moving into trot or canter.
5. Adding or Adjusting Equiband®
To add or swop to second band repeat steps 1 and 2. Only fit Equiband® without the rider on the horse. Always dismount when adding or swopping Equiband® and have a helper present until the horse is fully accustomed to use of the Equiband® system.
The Equiband® system is intended for in-hand work, and during lungeing and riding. Use the Equiband® system at the start of a workout graduating to use for a full session. Ensure that the horse receives regular breaks as the increased engagement of the core musculature will cause earlier fatigue in work. If the horse appears unlevel with use of the Equiband® system, cease use immediately and seek veterinary evaluation and/or advice. Use Equiband® from the start of work, emphasizing transitions between and within gaits. Reduce full riding time by half as increased core muscle engagement may cause fatigue.
Guide to fitting of the Equiband® system: a user-friendly video courtesy of The Horse Physio, one of our UK Equiband system distributors!
Notes from Equicore Concepts:
If the abdominal band slips back or if the hindquarter band rides up, check the tension – it is often too loose. For optimal postural fit, ask for an abdominal lift when fitting the abdominal band, and ensure that the horse is standing under itself with the hind legs when fitting the hindquarter band.
Always use the band system at the start of a workout, and remove the bands if necessary. Do not add the bands after warm-up or during a riding/training session: this defeats the objects of neuromuscular stimulation. Neuromuscular activation is best achieved at the start of a session, particularly during the warm-up phase. We recommend use of the abdominal band before adding the hindquarter band.