Tag Archives: Rider

Review of the Equiformance Rider Bands

Contralateral bands for flatwork

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The first time I tried these bands with various riders I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. They arrived with a leaflet and a link to a video briefly explaining how to use them and the benefits they might have.

Being someone who appreciates rider development tools, I fired the good old Google searches and got down to educating myself on the ins and outs of using resistance bands for posture training. After a few days of reading, I was quietly excited to give this new toy a go.

I was prepared for the riders to feedback about feeling some level of increase of the effort through their core muscles, maybe better awareness of where their centre of balance was and I hoped for a good level of improvement of their lateral crookedness.

They experienced all that and much more…Once they worked themselves through the initial bewilderment of the feel of the bands, here is what I observed :

IN THE HORSES:

  • nearly immediate and substantial improvement in basic straightness through the body
  • many laid back horses moving with more impulsion
  • sensitive horses slowing down and moving calmer
  • hollow horses showing improved relaxation through the back and offering more functional, lower, more relaxed neck positions
  • stabler neck position (in the middle of the shoulder blades instead of displaced positions)

IN THE RIDER:

  • huge improvement in rider’s ability to maintain rhythm in trot and canter
  • huge improvement in rider’s ability to “internally understand” (vs intellectual understanding only) the feel of the horse staying off the forehand
  • nearly immediate internal understanding of the pelvis-to -contact connection/relationship
  • nearly immediate internal understanding and heightened perception of the “stable hands” concept (huge decrease in lifting/busy-ness of the hand(s) etc)
  • various “riding through the seat” concepts like weight aids and importance of central body position sinking in into the rider’s feel very quickly

Many of these findings were a big surprise to me albeit very welcomed! It often takes me weeks if not months of many well thought out exercises to build certain feels in the rider and for them to become established enough to be sustainable and able to be repeated. The seemingly inconspicuous set of bands sped this process up immensely.

One of several different ways of using the bands

THE CONCEPT OF RESISTANCE BANDS FOR RIDERS

The use of resistance bands in improving athletic skills is not new and has been around for a while. The same applies to the use of such bands in physiotherapy and one of the more interesting applications I came across was their (successful) integration into rehabilitation of stroke patients. (more if interested: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21555984/)

The bands I am reviewing here were designed by Performance Refinery, a company owned by Britta Anna Pedersen, “an experienced senior Physiotherapist with over 16 years experience in the field, prior International Dressage & Event Rider” More: https://equiformancebands.com/pages/about-us

I’ve been using their PR Equiformance Posture Sling – Functional Rider Performance Training Kit and PR Rider Performance Training Kit for about 12 months with 20 riders of various skills levels from complete beginners to grassroots levels competition riders.

DO IT AT HOME…OR NOT?

For all the really good benefits these bands have, I’ve come across riders who purchased them for individual use and weren’t satisfied. Having listened to the reasons these riders had I did see how the bands missed their application in their instances.

Even though there are no particular directives anywhere to use the bands under coaching supervision, I think the lack of eyes on the ground and help with correct wear (adjusted to the issues the rider has) were the reasons some riders didn’t experience full benefits. In some cases, it could simply have been a wrong aid altogether.

Whilst I don’t think one needs to be a physiotherapist to advise on a successful use of the bands, a decent knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics of both horse and rider plays an important role here, at least during the initial ride.

Aspire Equestrian Equiformance Bands Clinic at Brookfields Livery, Oxon

Not every rider will benefit from the use of contralateral bands for example, some will gain an immense help from just one band which will highlight undesirable movement patterns. Others will experience light bulb moments with the band held behind their lower back and held in both hands. Some can have a superb experience with wrists bands only.

I also noticed that riders with naturally high muscle tone have better results with bands that are longer than their height-suitable-band. This might be due to the tension increasing beyond functional level when they have to resist the action of the band. Having a full set for all the heights comes very handy here!

In summary, yes I think this is a fantastic tool for self learning but only after some sessions with a biomechanics focused coach. I am not recommending that to create some false dependency between a rider and an instructor but to help spread a word about the very positive possible applications of this particular rider development aid.

Part 1: What to buy for horse person this Christmas – Weekly Gift Guide with Aspire Equestrian

Having ridiculous issues with internet connectivity hence this post is coming so late at night and the newsletter will reach you all tomorrow when I shall go for a hunt of a place with fast connection to upload the content.

I hope you enjoy the first instalment of the Guide! Currently precariously supporting my laptop on the edge of a sofa where the connection seems most reliable!

PART 1

Introduction Gift Guide

1 atlas art

2 Atlas Art

FAB BOOTS

1 Silverburn Browbands

2 Silverburn Browbands

FAB BOOTS (1)

1 Rolltack

2 Rolltack

until next week

Would you like to see your product or service in the next week’s guide? Read HERE and email me any time!

All the best,

Wiola

PART 2: https://aspireequestrian.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/part-2-of-aspire-equestrian-christmas-gift-guide/

Show Me How You Walk and I Will Tell You How You Ride

Before we start, it is important to note, this post considers able bodied riders. 

Make a little experiment…

Set a video camera running and walk towards it and away from it. Then do the same side-ways. The same jogging and the same “skipping” as if you were cantering on your own feet (you might want to be alone if you are worried about your sanity being judged 😉

Then grab a cup of tea or coffee and re-watch those clips with detective-like curiosity. Check for the way you use your joints, the way you distribute your weight throughout your body, the way your hips move (or not!) while you walk and jog. Check which leg you start skipping with, which one pushes, which one carries without thinking about it, how level are your shoulders, is your head forwards or on top of your shoulders, do you carry your rib cage to one side…When you walk, do you lead the movement with your upper body or your hips…These are just a few of numerous elements you can analyse.

Grassroots Riders Habits 

If you are like many other amateur riders, chances are you have a sitting job – long hours at a computer desk, long hours in a car, perhaps you also wear high heels if you are a woman or you slouch a bit if you are a man…hundreds of your daily postural habits are mirrored very clearly in your riding style.

It is possible to fairly accurately describe many of your riding problems without you even sitting on a horse. It is also possible to change your riding position, seat issues, leg responsiveness or contact issues that you have when riding by analysing your own walking style as in our little experiment above.

Continue reading Show Me How You Walk and I Will Tell You How You Ride