A Progress Update, and Impressions Of the Equiband System

This screen grab makes me SO GIDDY!

Since we last left our intrepid hero, he's been buckling down on the workouts and making some serious progress in the strength and fitness department. I've been able to ask more and more of him as we work back towards collection, and Dino has ben stepping up to the work like the absolute champion he is. 

We've been able to touch a little bit on trot lengthening, counter-canter, and going from working to slightly more collected gaits and back. I'm taking the opportunity to continue to sharpen up Dino's response to lateral cues, and the other night he gave me a few steps of SUPER NICE haunches-in right, which has always been incredibly difficult for him, so I'm thrilled with that! 

Canter is still a work in progress, but we're getting there! I love how his head and neck are 'draped' out from his wither here. 

I'm also working on my own timing and position, and I've noticed lately that I'm definitely not as strong and stable in my torso as I should be! I tend to let my upper body drop back since that's where I feel my seat is most secure, but I ought to be stronger in the front of my torso so that I can keep my seat bones tucked under and the front of my pelvis up without my upper body falling backwards. It's a work in progress, and will probably take me a few weeks of lifting consistently again to see much improvement there. I've also noticed in the lateral work that if I'm able to separate my hip position from my lower leg position, I have so many more options when it comes to placing Dino's body parts where I want them, which is both very cool and a little daunting to discover! It's something I love about dressage - just when you think you understand it, it gets harder and you realize you know NOTHING. 

Trot lengthening is getting up to snuff!

While chatting with dear Megan recently, I mentioned to her that I was thinking of rigging up a copycat version of the Equicore Concepts Equiband System. She and several other friends had used the system with great success, and I thought something like it might really help Dino in this phase of regaining his strength and muscling. The $200 price tag, however, was not something I could swing, so I was investigating how to rig up some cheap resistance bands to do the same thing. Megan, in an act of generosity, offered to loan me her Equibands for a few months, and sent them off to me. She wasn't using them on Spicy at the moment, and by the time they would have done what I needed them to do for Dino, he'd be back in work and I could send them back to her. A perfect arrangement! 
Sir is skeptical of this new workout equipment.

The first couple times we tried them, I really wasn't sure if the bands were going to work for Dino the way I wanted them to. He was incredibly sucked back, sticky, and hesitant to move forward. While the bands made a dramatic change in his posture (his back and core were the most engaged I've ever felt them, so much so that his rib cage puffed out!), he didn't seem to be able to actually move while wearing them.  But I stuck it out, riding him for a few minutes in them every day, and by the third session he seemed to figure it out and went great in them from that point on! We're still working up to being able to use the bands for an entire ride, but I definitely feel a big difference in how Dino uses his core and back while in the bands, and I can visibly see that his posture just standing in the barn improves after wearing them. I love the fact that they get him in a posture I can only accomplish after riding VERY well for a considerable amount of time, saving wear and tear on his legs while still getting him to engage in a very correct way. The bands, in a way, make up for the deficiencies in my own timing and skill when it comes to asking Dino to use himself in that way, and so far I'm really pleased with how they work. I'm hoping they'll help to strengthen him and build back his muscling, especially in the loin area right behind the saddle, which has always been under-developed. So far I think it's a very useful tool, and I'm excited to see how it helps Dino's development over the coming weeks. 

As long as the current EHV outbreak stays under control, show season is also coming quickly upon us! I'm trying to keep my training focused on strength and conditioning right now, but part of me is VERY excited to start putting tests together again and getting the movements polished up and ready for the show ring. We had such a weird, weird season last year, and I hope that this year we can get back to showing with friends on a more regular basis! 


  1. That's so great Megan was able to share the equibands with you! I got some for Shiny, but our gas pedal is broken. I feel like I need to get her moving off my leg before I can even introduce them, but I'm so looking forward to when that day comes. Glad they're making such a difference for Dino!

  2. I've been curious about those bands too. Nice to hear they worked when he started sucked back, because that's how Poet is with any gadget that asks him to use himself ha.

  3. I had the same feeling the first few times I rode Scout in them. He was like, Mom I'm stuck. Once he figured out he could in fact move but that it just meant more work he was great! I love using them when I want to work more on myself while holding him accountable and sitting on his bum:)


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