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Equine Core Trainers - tight or loose?

Which do you prefer and why? Like most (all?) dressage riders, I’m always looking for ways to improve my horse’s core strength and topline. For years the go-to was a Pessoa lunging system - even the kissing spine protocols suggested using one. Then came the EquiCore and similar systems using the tighter resistance bands attached to the saddle pad. Before all of those was the Linda Tellington-Jones figure 8 wraps. Others just wrapped a polo wrap around the horse’s haunches and called it good!

I’d love to talk about which version (or versions) you chose for your horse/training and why!

Try correct riding, spending some time cross training,hacking out on hills.

I spent time in an Olympic rider’s barn. Her horse got 20+/- on training mornings, and a good solid hack out afternoons.

No gadgets.


And if you live in an area that’s so flat you can watch your dog run away for two weeks? And roads have deep ditches, narrow shoulders, and are really busy? Then what?

I would love to do hill work, and hack more than just around the back field, but this area just doesn’t permit it. So, I try to use Bum Building Bands regularly as a bit of a stopgap, snug but not tight.


Exactly! Would I love to have the hills (and the time) for a daily second hack/fitness ride? For sure! But this is life and so we do what we can with the resources we have.

I will add that my highly respected rehab-focused vet has recommended their use, so I’m not going to classify ALL as gadgets.

Edited to Add: I agree the bum building bands should be snug, not tight. I simply used that term to distinguish from the very loose pessoa style bands.


I’ll actually answer the question. I keep the one around the belly quite snug (not tight but snug) the one on the butt I keep a bit looser, I find if it’s too tight it slips up under the tail. And I don’t find it changes my horse all that much to have it slightly looser around the butt.


I’ve used them for rehab a fair bit. I keep the belly and the butt snug but not tight once they are used to it. I don’t use the Pessoa or any of the ones that directly connect to the bit.

That’s always what I disliked about the Pessoa-type systems too. But I wonder if the loose band that “bumps” them in the gaskin area works as well as the snug resistance band types. I may need to experiment with my guy, as he was previously a driving horse so his experience with a breeching may make his response different than a horse that has only been ridden.

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I think the loose ones create some awareness/proprioception, but the tighter ones may actually get a change in way of going. I find the bands create more straightness than the Pessoa ever did.

My favorite setup is the EquiCore and a chambon or loose side reins. Nothing to bump them in the mouth, but creates some straightness.

Very good point about the straightness! I would definitely agree and I have seen my guy’s weaker hind leg (RH) improve with this setup as well.


These are the two ways that I’ve seen the Equiband used. Loose for proprioception and to better engage the hind, or tight as a physical resistance band.


I think both can be helpful. But I don’t like ones that are connected to the mouth. Fine if you want to use side reins or something, but keep those pieces of equipment separate.


Just out of curiosity, if you go to a physical therapist, are all the bands, blocks and balls “gadgets” or “tools”?

Second question: if it’s a tool, can it make the injury/weakness stronger if used correctly?


Quoting because saying this just once might not be enough <3


I haven’t worked with a PT, and I have worked with several, who trussed people up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

For horses I’ve not gotten past side or Vienna reins

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Teach the horse to drive.

You are going to the wrong kind of physical therapist if you haven’t met a resistance band yet… Or maybe you’ve just been extraordinarily lucky in the type of injury that you’ve had.


I mean, I appreciate driving, obviously… but that’s like a 5K commitment and the lower end before you even find out if you have a driving horse… :joy:

And that’s not even considering the type of facility you need to be at.


My horse is an ex-Amish buggy horse. He knows how to drive. Unless your pulling weight or doing CDE, driving won’t help a dressage horse. I barely have enough time and money for dressage, much less dressage AND CDE! :joy:


Doing dressage (ridden) and CDE will damn near kill you, I cannot lie. Roughly last year (during a 12 month period) I actually did the 2nd level breed award followed by a fall fitness schedule, followed by a full winter/spring schedule of CDEs and developing athlete clinics. Also, I am not young.

One things for sure, that year will either add or take a decade off my life, I’m not sure which, but there’s no middle ground. :rofl:


A resistance band is not locking you in position, it is a give and take.