Starting equi bands?

So we are on a rehab program for what the vet said are pretty atrophied stifle muscles. The vet suggested that I use Equicore’s Equi Band system.

Did you start with one band? Or start off with both?

I usually start off with just the butt band and make sure they are ok with that and then add the belly band. I start in hand first. But I haven’t had one be upset about it yet. You do need to start slowly as far as how much exercise you do in them. Like just a little walking at first.

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Vet said walk 5 or 10, take it off and then walk him out.

Thanks on what you start w!

Handy guide on their webpage:

The Equiband® system is intended for in-hand work, and during lungeing and riding. Use the Equiband® system at the start of a workout graduating to use for a full session. Ensure that the horse receives regular breaks as the increased engagement of the core musculature will cause earlier fatigue in work. If the horse appears unlevel with use of the Equiband® system, cease use immediately and seek veterinary evaluation and/or advice. Use Equiband® from the start of work, emphasizing transitions between and within gaits. Reduce full riding time by half as increased core muscle engagement may cause fatigue.

Always use the band system at the start of a workout, and remove the bands if necessary. Do not add the bands after warm-up or during a riding/training session: this defeats the objects of neuromuscular stimulation. Neuromuscular activation is best achieved at the start of a session, particularly during the warm-up phase. We recommend use of the abdominal band before adding the hindquarter band.

According to my friend that is a human PT, more benefit might come from the belly band. But since they sometimes slip back until you get the tension figured out and they are already in a more sensitive area, I have found that starting with the butt band works well.

This is purely to make sure horse doesn’t have a freak out about this new feeling. I don’t think it hurts to do a short walk for a few sessions with butt band first. I also didn’t really phrase my response earlier right. When I add the belly band, I do it by itself, after horse is used to the butt band. Then combine them.

If I were to take only one off after a while of working, butt band is removed first. Or both. I also teach the horses to be ok with them attached thrown over the back—they will flap around. That way when I’m riding I don’t have to get off to remove the bands and I can just hook back on and keep going.

I started with both, lunged for 5 minutes the first week, then lunged for 5 and rode for 10 the following, adding 10 mins or so a week until it was on the full ride. Once we hit that point, i started using it twice a week or so for the full ride.

I used it as part of a stifle/hind end weakness PT/rehab program.

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@Jersey_Fresh Thanks. That is what we are going to be doing. He was ouchy in the bands so we are going to do injections and restart. Good to know what worked for you.

Mind telling me what else you were doing? Vet sez he is incredibly weak in the stifles.

@tollertwins Okay so this what went on with my guy. I think a lot of this was caused by the fact that he is young, long and tall and fairly straight behind. About a year ago, he came up acutely lame on his RH. Flexed positive on the stifle, rads were clean. Blocked clean so we injected. Horse was totally sound.

Then this summer, he began to trip on that same leg but flexed negative on it and passed a neuro exam. Vet suspected slipping/locking stifle, so we blistered the ligament and started estrone and he had me do all hill work for several weeks starting in early August. Horse improved and moved sound in an lameness exam but still didn’t feel 100% on that RH under saddle (still tripped, canter felt different to the right than the left, still extremely fussy in the bridle). He came up lame again on RH in Sept/Oct and this time flexed positive but we could not block (horse is a dick about blocking and we could not safely do it) . Rads of hock and stifle were clean, so we did a hail mary and injected the stifle again. Horse got better but basically went back to the same baseline after blistering in August.

I had a Sports Med Vet come out to give a second opinion, and he flexed fine all over but was just kind of a low grade (1.5/5) behind. She watched him go, and she suspected stifle and general gluteal muscle weakness.

What we did was first rule out suspensory (blocked fine), then she blistered both the stifle area and the whole hind end muscle. He got ridden 2x a day for a week, then we developed a plan for basically booty boot camp:
-We flipped his hind shoes (old school thing for slipping stifles) for several cycles. This helped immediately
-Every ride had a purpose. So for me, his week was 5-6 days of work.
2x a week: Trot hills (ours are not big, so I rode in my EB usually at least one of those days once I tapered down)
2x a week: Dressage with raised cavaletti (again one of those days in the EB once a I tapered). I also would back over poles.
1x a week: lunge in a pessoa rig
1x a week lesson
Then one day off.

The weather hasn’t been the best, so when i couldn’t do hills, he did raised poles in the ring or got lunged in the pessoa. She also suggested weighted boots behind, which I had trouble finding so I will incorporate them into his plan this spring (probably use them 2x a week on days I don’t use the EB). He’s getting 6 weeks off for winter break for his own mental well being, and when I start him back he will start back on estrone and then go straight back into the same program.

I will PM you some videos of his progress. He is still getting stronger but has improved a ton in a very short time.

Tnx! My guy is hideously week in his stifles because :man_shrugging:t3:. He has some arthritis in the worst one, so may have been not using himself correctly for some time.

Where did you find weighted boots? Am looking at some Icelandic ones (he’s a straight behind Icelandic) but wasn’t sure if there was something else on the market. I’m chicken to try bell boots again. He moves really close and tripped himself over walk poles and went completely down.

Check places that sell saddlebred tack for weighted bell boots.

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I PMed you some videos.

I ended up buying Equifit boots with weighted liners via second hand. My vet said you could also try ankle weights for people and polo wrap over them, but I couldn’t get mine to stay up.