Keeping your horse on box rest

Box rest can be a very stressful time for both you and your horse. Often the box rest has been created by an accident or injury. So, you have the worry over that, and how the injury will heal, as well as the worry about how your horse will cope with being on box rest as well. Remember box rest is a turn of phrase, it does not necessarily mean that your horse can never leave his stable – make sure that you discuss with your vet what the limitations are. Horses, just like us, are individuals and you know your horse better than anyone. If you are concerned about how your horse will cope with being on box rest, please talk to your vet.

One of the main concerns about box rest is that your horse will be inclined to put on weight, which won’t help if he is trying to recover from injury. Balancing out restricting feed with preventing gastric ulcers can be a tricky balance. Make sure that his bedding is comfortable and is not causing him to stand at a strange angle thereby placing more strain through his joints.

Keeping him mobile is a massive part of his recovery. There are various ways that you can do this. Simple mobilisation stretches are a great way to encourage gentle movement, as are baited stretches, provided that they are appropriate for your horse. Walking in hand can be an excellent way to help keep your horse healthy during box rest. Though discuss this with your vet and consider the nature of your horse. If he is going to be rearing and spinning while being led out then it probably won’t help his recovery!

Massage or grooming will be of great benefit to your horse. In the old days all grooms would strap their horses every day, essentially giving them a massage and giving the grooms the opportunity to know their horses inside out. In our fast-paced modern world, we consider grooming simply flicking the mud off so the tack doesn’t rub. If your horse is injured and you can’t ride, you can spend that time massaging and grooming him. This will improve your relationship with your horse, as well as helping him to heal.

Box rest can be difficult. Spending some time working out things to keep your horse entertained and building in mobilisation and massage time into your day, will help you to keep him happy and healthy during his recuperation period. Just remember that when you start riding again he won’t be as fit as he was and to start slowly and build up the work in small increments.


Expensive or good value?

By Lizzie Hopkinson

Price is subjective. What one person thinks of as expensive others may think of as cheap. We all have different values and limited pockets, and always make our choices accordingly.

I recently went to a private dental practice which advertised as specialising in nervous patients. The service I received was outstanding, the level of empathy and compassion provided by all the staff from the receptionists to the dentist was exemplary. I was very impressed.

But the cost of receiving treatment was too expensive for me. Not over-priced, just out of my budget. On reflection I think the level of care you would receive there was justified in the price. My decision not to go ahead with the treatment was not a reflection on their service but simply on my pocket. I will find another service which will be cheaper, but may not be quite as good. Would I have gone to the private dentist if I could have afforded it – yes!

We sell products that are expensive. I have heard comments about both the Equiband System and the Arc Equine around their expense. But are they too expensive? No – as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The developers of the Equiband System spent two years finding the right material to use for the bands. People are making their own “equibands” using theraband or elastic bandages – you cannot expect that to be as good.

Remember just because you cannot afford a product, it doesn’t mean the product is too expensive, or over-priced, it just means it is too expensive for your budget. However budgets can be honed. Do you buy a coffee every day for £2.50? If you didn’t for 80 days you would have saved the price of an Equiband System. £20 a week on a takeaway? Have 10 weeks off and you have saved the price of an Equiband System.

I’m off to work out if I can save enough money elsewhere in my budget to pay for private dental care…

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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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Are you rehabbing your horse after kissing spines surgery?

Liz rehabbed her horse Larry after kissing spine surgery with the Equiband System. Read on to see how she got on…

“After getting the devastating news the my dear horse Larry had Kissing Spines , needed surgery and some very intensive rehabilitation if he was going to make it I began researching how to do it.  I must admit I felt utterly overwhelmed and at a loss as to know where to begin!!

I was looking at different ways of working a horse post-surgery including the use of a Pessoa ,TheraBands , equibands etc  etc…utterly overwhelming.  I am a strong believer in fate and one evening I was looking at Facebook when Sue Palmer and the Equiband flashed up in front of me.. I watched a video on how to fit it and read all the information and decided it was the one for us.

I had been given a very basic re-hab plan from the vet who did the surgery so I check with my own vet Straitons and Ed the vet  said try it… even though he new little about it he thought it sounded Ok.

Larry underwent surgery in July 2017 , got over a terrible wound infection and embarked upon his road to recovery.  By mid-August we started with walking in-hand twice a day and eventually progressed onto long-reining and gentle lunging.

Sue came out to assess Larry on 9th October 2017 and the I bought the Equiband and The Activate Your Horses Core DVD & book.  She fitted the Equiband 28th October 17.


I have worked with Larry in the Equiband at least 3 times a week including walking him up and down slopes, taking him over low trotting poles of varying heights coupled with Carrot Stretching and the other core strengthening exercises then  once a week some lunging in a ménage on a surface (weather permitting!)


On 31st December 2017 my friend and coach Alex Hulme BHSI sat on Larry for the first time since June 2017,(She has been supporting  me with Larry’s rehab from the start),  I sat on him a couple of weeks later and he is now going out a couple of times a week for a gentle hack on Cannock Chase. I am still doing Carrot Stretches at least three times a week and working him in hand with the Equiband on at least once a week.


The Equiband System is a fantastic piece of equipment – I do not have a menage/indoor/outdoor school with a posh surface …just fields and some jump wings and poles.. Come rain or shine , day or night I have been able to keep going consistently with Larry’s rehabilitation.  All through the winter I have got him out in the dark with husband and torch and the light on the side of the barn in Larry’s field, I have even put his Equiband on then put a rain sheet over the top so we can do our exercise.


Yes, the Equiband System costs,  but the money , stress and hassle (I work fulltime),   I have saved not having to trailer Larry to hire out a surface has balanced out the expense . It has also  meant I didn’t  need an army of helpers to help me on dark Winter evenings (except my long-suffering husband),  I’ve  just been able  to get on and get my precious boy back on the road to recovery much quicker than I thought .  Using the Equiband as part of Larry’s recovery has produced amazing results.”


Thank you to Liz for sharing her and Larry’s story with us. If you are struggling with kissing spine, you can purchase the Equiband System and Activate Your Horse’s Core from Ethical Horse Products.