Equestrian Life,  Fitness and Conditioning,  Holistic Wellness

Pony Conditioning Week 2

I thought my pony was an easy keeper but it turns out when he isn’t regularly exercised he is basically a jellyfish- nothing firm about him. Thank you for joining us on week two!

If you are just joining us, please read our story and our first week’s exercise diary to catch up!

Ferrous did really well his first week back, but we are taking it slow to make sure we build his muscles and tendons/ligaments the correct way. As an animal bodyworker specializing in Sports Massage I know that proper preparation means prevention of injury down the road. Rather than focus on all the muscle lost, I am instead putting my efforts into rebuilding from the ground up with balance and longevity in mind.

As a result my pony is receiving sports massage, cold laser and chiropractic every two weeks as well as a saddle fit evaluation (now that he’s lost muscle the fit will change) and planning a varied approach to exercise 3-5 days per week.

Because he is weak I did not ride him at all the first week until I could determine his cardiovascular and strength capabilities.

Week Two

Sunday: walk/trot/canter transitions on the quarter lines with a focus on carrying underneath himself under saddle so he doesn’t slip out in his hind. Walk for 12 minutes at the beginning and end, with only a few minutes of canter to stretch and extend, then trot. Alternating speeds, even if only a short time keeps him focuses on me and using his abdominal muscles to engage the hind and support me.

First ride in 8 weeks!

I rode in my Western saddle, which is light and synthetic but also is better balanced on him. Duration of approximately 20 minutes.

Monday: off

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: barn owner lunged him over ground poles for 15-20 minutes.

Thursday: I lunged him using the Equiband system for the first time. He was a star! I left the bands loose because the intent was not resistance and strength but proprioception and body awareness at this time. I wanted him to feel the band feedback and reach further underneath using his hind, as well as lift his abdominals as he can be quite lazy.

In general I shy away from gimmicks that force an unnatural position and build muscle incorrectly. Not only is that a bit of a cheat (just my opinion) but long term will have consequences on the body.

The Equiband by Equicore Concepts was recommended to us by our veterinarian, so it gave me pause and I did my research watching videos and reading reviews. I was quickly intrigued and purchased it for our rehabilitation process.

The concept of its use for core strengthening in the horse is based on scientifically-researched and validated techniques used in human conditioning and rehabilitation.

Equicore Concepts

I was very happy with our first use and limited it to only 15 minutes. Again, I want him to have the biofeedback but don’t want to rely on a system. He needs to use his body correctly. As a result, we use this as a tool not a crutch.

Friday: Chiropractic adjustment in his pelvis followed by a 10-minute walk and stretch. Training ride in the afternoon!

Saturday: off

Ferrous is showing small changes already in his neck, filling out the hole, and starting to change the shape of his glutei muscles. All in I believe we are making great progress and in just two weeks! Feels slow and hard to watch others riding around me while I zip in and out but I want to build him up.

Follow our journey to getting back in shape!

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