Equiband Review from Racehorse Recharge

One of the things we love about the Equiband System is that it can be used by all types of horses and ponies for a variety of different reasons. And we love hearing about how the Equiband has helped people and their horses. One of our lovely clients shared their story with us about the rehabilitation of an ex-racehorse named Bear…

“He’s really enjoyed his summer in the field and living out, putting on some grass belly, but the last few weeks he’s been back in and back to work. His groundwork is something that he enjoys and we get a lot of great beneficial progress from this for his transition from racehorse to riding horse. He’s very quick to learn and always tries hard and gives his best. He’s very athletic and it’s no surprise that he was a group 1 racehorse. I’m sure he will also be a 5 – star riding horse. We have been using the Equicore concepts system which is proving to be a great addition to our program. He is really lifting and using his abs with this which in turn makes him lift and work through his back and swing from behind. When under saddle you can really feel the difference.”

Bear is being re-trained by the super-talented Claire Townsend, of Racehorse Recharge. You can learn more the services that Claire offers on her website here at www.racehorse-recharge.co.uk

If you would like to follow Bear’s progress you can find Racehorse Recharge on Facebook by clicking here.

We love the work being done by Claire, as it can be difficult to re-home ex-racehorses and her services are optimising the chances of these horses being able to have a long and fruitful lives. We are glad that the Equiband System can play a small part in the rehabilitation of these incredible horses.

The Equiband System – an insight…

One of the founders of Equicore Concepts, Nicole Rombach, talks about how the Equiband System was developed and how it can benefit your horse.

The concept for the Equiband system was developed when a group of equine practitioners saw the need for a more optimal means to engage the horse’s core in work. The core can essentially be described as the bridge between the axial (spine/main body) and appendicular (limbs) systems of the horse. Core strength refers to optimal function of the deep muscles that surround the spine, and more superficial muscles of the trunk. Both muscle groups need to function to provide stability in movement (dynamic stability). This is known as motor control. Where there is no adequate core stability and a loss of motor control, compensatory movement patterns and overloading of limbs can result in adapted gait, which in turn predisposes the horse to injury due to suboptimal loading. Core strength can be affected by a number of clinical conditions including back/neck pain, lameness, muscle disorders (myopathies) and nervous system disorders (neuropathies).

 

The Equiband system promotes optimal core function, which was revealed in a recent published study that was carried out in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College. With use of the system, there was a significant improvement in symmetry of motion of the back and pelvis. Though more studies are needed (and already in progress!), the results show that it is possible to create dynamic symmetry in the ridden horse.

 

The response from the veterinary world has been overwhelmingly positive, in terms of using the Equiband system in rehabilitation. In the USA alone, 90% of the orders come directly from veterinary referral. Users mainly include owners with horses that are treated for back and neck pain, post-colic surgery. So saying, many horses are being fitted with the Equiband system for general improvement in conditioning. It is exciting to see riders at global top level using the system as part of their conditioning programmes. The Equiband system is also introducing in post-grad programmes in veterinary physiotherapy, throughout the world.

 

As clinical reasoning is key in the application of the system, international distributors are either veterinarians or qualified/licensed equine therapists. Where an underlying clinical condition is suspected, the horse must be referred to the primary responsible veterinarian for clinical investigation.

 

Dispelling some of the myths around the Equiband system:

 

Firstly, it is not a training aid. The concept involves a constant, light, direct stimulus (proprioceptive input) from the body to the brain (the centre of motor control). For effective (re)training of movement, motor control patterns need to be repeated until the movement is carried out without reminder. As such, the system is initially used on a daily basis, and depending on the horse’s progress, use is reduced after 4 or so weeks, to 3-4 times per week, and eventually the horse will use the system as a ‘reminder’, once or twice a week, depending on how the horse is progressing. The system is safe for use on the treadmill, in the horsewalker and in the underwater treadmill. It is an ideal means to train the horse’s core strength during recovery from injury or surgery, where exercise is limited to controlled walking, for example.

 

Folks are using different materials to imitate the system. This is fine, but it is key to remember that the Equiband™ material was developed over a two-year period, to achieve optimal tension and texture for safe and beneficial use on horses. We used the human Theraband for many years, but found that this rolled on the horse, and due to the difference in texture, it did not give the same proprioceptive feedback to the horse as what it does in people. The same goes for the use of soft bandages; there is some proprioceptive feedback, but not the same consistency.  It depends on what the user aims to achieve. We found that the tension and texture of the Equiband™ system is optimal for what we aim to achieve.

Our guest blogger this week is Nicole Rombach APM, MEEBW, CCBW, PG AM, MSc., PhD, President, Equinenergy/Caninenergy Ltd, Chair, IEBWA United Kingdom & Europe.

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