Pessoa Lunge System - just the back half?

I am working on building my horse’s topline and core strength and part of that regime is lunging. I have an Equi-Core, but as my horse was a driving horse prior to me buying him, I’m wondering if he thinks it is the harness breeching and tunes it out. I want to try a looser and lower system like the Pessoa but I dislike the fact that it connects to their bit. I just want him to get the rhythmic “tapping” of a looser butt band. Has anyone seen anything like this or am I going to have to DIY something?


To be entirely honest, I don’t think it will have the effect you’re looking for and I’d probably stick to the Equi-Core. It was my understanding that the Equi-Core uses an elastic band to provide resistance and not just using the novelty factor of “there’s something weird touching my butt!” to encourage them to reach further under themselves.

It seems to me that the Pessoa system, especially a modified “tapping” version would only serve to modify the biomechanics and not necessarily build strength. Or it could cause the horse to build strength in the wrong way by overcompensating for weakness that’s already there, especially if they were modifying their gait significantly as a reaction to something touching their legs. All that aside though, what’s stopping the horse from getting used to it and tuning this new gadget out after a week too?

Anecdotally, I will add this - a friend of mine took a horse with some unresolved lameness issues to a specialist last year who diagnosed the him with KS. She came home with a strict rehabbing regimen that involved lunging with Equi-Core. This was all heard 2nd hand of course, but the vet basically told them Equicore was the only thing on the market that they recommend and actually builds strength - everything else is just gimmicks.


I am leasing a young Tb mare right now who is somewhat tense under saddle seems to have issues working over her back. Apparently had back x-ray done that didn’t show anything. She gets better with correct work / riding, and I’ve been longeing her on hills, but I remembered from way back having another mare that benefitted greatly from a Gogue/Chambon type of system both when riding and longeing her.
I will look into the Equi-Core system. Thanks.

I agree with your thought process - I bought the Equi-Core for all of those reasons. This horse has a tendency to have a flat croup and leave his hocks way out behind him. If I’m understanding the biomechanics correctly (and I may not, I’m struggling with this one for whatever reason) the muscle building due to the resistance band would be in the pushing backward phase of his stride. Isn’t that the opposite of what I want? I’m not being cheeky about this, I’m truly trying to understand how this builds topline muscle.

I also wonder if I need a longer band and just move it down some…. It currently sits just under his point of buttock, under his tail, but I recently saw a picture of a UK knockoff that has it much lower, near the junction of the gaskin. Maybe that would be a different enough feel to make it novel again?

Nothing is ever easy with this horse….

I guess you could adjust the Equi-Core so it’s looser and can tap a little bit but I also think it could be tuned out but YMMV based on the horse!

In terms of biomechanics, I agree the resistance band is in the pushing backwards of the stride. The release of the band resistance is when the hind legs are coming forward and underneath their body. I think because of this, they would start to engage the back since that would allow them to step underneath themselves more since it would mean more frequent release from the resistance band? If they’re strung out and not tracking up at all, then they’d probably have less release from the resistance band I think?

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There is a “belly band” also, in addition to the band that goes around the hindquarters. The belly band is intended to help horses lift their back. The two bands together help them step underneath and build the right muscles.


If I’m still using the elastic resistance bands, I don’t think I’ll get the tapping like with a cord/fleece of the Pessoa. But this picture shows the band placed much lower. I felt like it would slide up, but maybe playing with the level of resistance would help with that.

I do use the belly band portion as well, although I don’t see a vast difference with or without it. But in theory it is helping to activate those deeper/smaller muscles, so I keep using it.

Do you have a link to the band in that photo? I can only find the system that attaches to a saddle pad. Thanks!

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Thanks, now I just need to see what else I should order to make the shipping cost worth it. :smiley:

Hint: if you order items listed as “free shipping” everything else in your order ships free too. Kentucky products are my suggestion :slight_smile:


And email the store before you order, to tell them you’re outside the EU, and you’ll get VAT removed.
I also suggest many of the Bucas products, for free shipping!


I just got a Bucas Therapy blanket for a great price PLUS free shipping! The Euro to Dollar exchange is pretty good right now too. :blush:

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Hi, I used to lunge a friend’s horse with the equicore. The back resistance band goes in the same place as in the picture of the other brand you posted. I can’t figure out how to get the image on my phone but the check the picture on the equicore website for the intended fit.

Hmmmm, maybe that is where I am going wrong. I’m going to play with the fit of what I already have and see if maybe I just have it in the wrong place. I feel like the instructions I received with my set (which was the Thermatex version) showed it higher, but I bough this several years ago so I may be mis-remembering.

Thank you!

Ok, more googling since I’m avoiding work, it looks like the thermatex version is a brand called pro-core, different from equicore but the same basic idea. Their website does show the hind band a little higher, but not much. And it looks like maybe there are 2 options to hook the band in the back, one with less angle. The one I used just had one clip and the only way I could see you getting the band up higher on the butt would be to flip the clips upside down.
As for how it works, yes the resistance is when they push behind them, but as they bring the leg under it kind of gives it a “push” to encourage them to step just a little bit further. It definitely helped my friends horse.

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Well dang. A Back on Track sheet for my big mare is on my list. Thoughts on how this compares at half the price? Sorry for the thread derailment, but thanks for the money saving (spending) tips!

You’re right that the resistance is in the “pushing” phase, but I think you’re thinking too much about appearance vs what’s actually happening.

Yes, a horse should reach underneath themselves, but that in and of itself is NOT the end goal. The end goal is that they begin to shift their weight further over their hind end so they can lift their front end up more effectively. But the “lift” doesn’t come from setting their feet further underneath themselves, but rather from the PUSH that the hind end can generate. Stepping underneath without any push from behind results in flat and “shuffly” movement.

I’ll try to give the human equivalent of what I can see happening here. Think about trying to step up onto a big rock or something - about hip level. You can stretch and focus on getting your foot up that high all day long and increasing your range of motion, but that doesn’t really mean much if you lack strong enough glutes to smoothly step up on top of it. Without adequate “rear muscles” you’ll find yourself pitching forward (losing your balance), trying to shift your weight over the rock, probably scrambling a bit, and then maybe even pulling/pushing with your arms to get back to the range of motion you actually have effective strength in. You will be much better served by building the muscle over time with smaller rocks that are perhaps less impressive, but allow you to perform the movement correctly, slowly building your strength, range of motion and all of those smaller supporting muscles together over time.

There’s a reason personal trainers always emphasize form over the actual weight/number of reps you’re doing.


Caveat, I don’t use one, but I have observed several horse who are worked in them and these observations may (or may not) answer your ponderings.

From what I see, the muscle building isn’t really because of the resistance, the muscle building comes because in order to avoid having to push through resistance to allow the hind legs to fly as far out as they normally would, the horse steps farther under itself. Voila, instant path to engagement. It’s a very cool thing to watch. And I have observed that the time limits that the manufacturer puts on use while building up make a lot of sense. Not adjusted correctly (too high or too loose), a horse could probably go just about forever as there is not a lot of extra effort involved. Likely the opposite too - too low and too tight - injury could very easily happen.

Move the band down. The higher the band the easier it is for the horse to blow it off because there really isn’t any resistance to want to avoid. Think of it this way - put a weight band as far up on your thigh as you can then swing your leg from the hip. It’s annoying but not that hard. Take that same weight band and move it down to just above your knee. You’re going to get fewer reps before you feel the effects. Put it down to your ankle and you’ve increased the difficulty again.