Equicore / Services

What Is Equicore?

I have been involved in the equestrian world for over 35 years.

This having started at the age of 12 years old when I started riding with Mrs Beck at Lasswade riding School in Edinburgh. We would travel there as a group from school on a Tuesday afternoon and it was by far the highlight of my week whilst growing up.

We would hack out or have a lesson and more often than not, one of us in the group would fall off!

Apart from the usual calls of hang on! There was no clear message or method that made us feel more secure in the saddle.

I then left school and secured a job as a Groom at The Drum Riding for the Disabled. Over the years, I then progressed to teach the disabled riders and then was given the chance to train for my B.H.S.A.I and at the same time my R.D.A. Instructor exam.

I did enjoy teaching riding, however there were still some people either disabled or able-bodied who found it very hard to consistently find balance on the horse. They just seemed to be getting the hang of it and then they would fall off again.

I was aware that there were many people who looked precarious on a horse. I know better than anyone!

Especially when I started jumping as a teenager, I would find myself jumped right out the saddle and often landed on the ground unceremoniously. However, at that time I didn’t have an answer to my predicament. After 23 years working with horses, I left to start a new career in the Fitness Industry. It was then I realized the benefits of core strength and how this impacts on balance.

The activation of the core muscles would allow someone to either sit on, kneel or stand on a large stability ball. This got me thinking… If someone could sit on a large ball with their feet off the ground and balance effectively whilst performing some other exercise, such as weights, then could this be adapted into a program for horse riders?

The answer was yes! I called this new program Equi-Core.

I then started looking at the angle of the rider’s pelvis when they rode. I found the position of the pelvis had a huge impact on their riding ability, and also how well they could balance independently without the use of the reins for balance. I looked at many riders over the next 6 months, some knew what I was up to and some didn’t!

However the same problem flagged up again and again. If the rider’s pelvis was in the wrong position, it had an impact on the posture of their upper body. This would either see the rider slouch or alternatively ride on their fork. This would also hugely impact the riders balance and they were then forced to keep balance by holding onto the reins. The horse’s movement was then impacted by this precarious rider.

Finding our balance by the use of the reins, inhibits the horse’s movement causing the horse to stiffen throughout his body and this in turn would affect his way of going.

He would then have little or no chance of going on the bit under these circumstances.

I’m sure we all know that if the horse is to move and work effectively he should not be impeded by the rider. The rider should be an equal partner not a passenger.

One example is the rider who is a relative beginner, who buys a more experienced horse to ride. The rider is generally over horsed and their lack of experience is exaggerated. The horse finds this new rider hard work and ultimately becomes less keen to accommodate them. He becomes confused by the lack of direction from the rider.

The horse’s performance starts to suffer and the rider becomes despondent.

In this instance, the inclusion of Equi-Core sessions would give the rider the confidence, experience and not to mention balance to improve their riding.

In 2011, I discussed my Equi- Core concept with Appin Equestrian centre based in East Lothian. As Appin are forward thinking in their approach to riding and improvement they kindly agreed to allow me to run a Pilot programme of Equi-Core. I gained valuable feedback when I worked with the riders over the course of a few months.

The sessions were structured so as the riders participated both on and off the horse. Off the horse, I taught Pilates based exercises, initially without equipment and then progressed to include work with the stability ball. Equi-Core helped to increase their core strength and posture and we also focussed on correct spinal alignment and improved balance whilst riding.

They all agreed they gained benefits from the inclusion of Equi-Core into their routine.

These experienced riders found benefits with the inclusion of Equi-Core into their routine.

I have since helped many riders with varying abilities from beginner to advanced and improved and sometimes totally transformed their position by using the Equi-Core principles.

The initial change is generally quite fast, however, the habits formed over years, take a little longer to reverse. We then have to unlearn the old way of thinking to replace it with the new, more effective method.

If only I had this knowledge when I was training for my B.H.S.A.I., this would have made things so much easier.

When the core muscles switch on, this leaves the rider free to improve the partnership they have with their horse. At Infiniti wellbeing, I offer many services which include Fitness, Pilates and Massage. However, my passion for horses and indeed teaching encouraged me to also offer Equi-Core as one of my main services.

If you would like to learn more about Equi-Core. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details here: Angie@infinitiwellbeing.com

Equicore Services