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Benefits of core engagement for your horse

Why should we be doing daily core strengthening work with our horses? Because we sit on the lowest, weakest part of their back, so this is the bit that needs to be strengthened for riding!


Tip 1: Your horse will start working over his back

We have all heard this term, getting your horse to work over his back, and we probably know what that is or looks like, but WHY is it important and HOW do we do it? And what does it really mean?!

What this term really means is training your horse to move in good posture, which is a strong core and lifted back, as opposed to a high head carriage and tight/hollow back.

To train your horse to work over his back, he needs to engage his core first, this in turn will transform his posture.

The biggest benefit of core engagement exercises for your horse, is actually the transformation of their posture… once you learn how to do the right exercises, and do them effectively, and do them on a daily basis!

Once you put this work into your routine with your horse, you will start to correct his posture from hollow back and high head carriage…to a lowered neck and lifted core and back! He will start to lower his neck and use his body more fully in exercise, which is exactly what we seek in the working horse.

2. Your horse will be more comfortable to ride as his back is moving not locked 

When your horse is moving with a tight back, it will never be that comfortable for him or you if you’re riding. I like to look at horses like a bike chain, I know some of you have heard me say this before but its worth repeating! For the whole chain to work, all of the small pieces have to work - so if one small piece of the chain isn’t working, the whole chain can’t work.

Translating this to the horse in movement, if a section of his back is sore and therefore tight, the ‘chain’ is disrupted.

Once we can engage the horses core, stretch and strengthen his topline, the body begins to work as a whole, and we can unlock the tight back, making the horses body more comfortable.

It’s the difference between feeling like you’re riding a rigid board and struggling, to riding a soft upward swinging back and an effortless partnership with your horse!

3. Reduction of back pain / kissing spine

Comparing human back pain to back pain in the horse…what is often prescribed for human back pain is pilates exercises. And this is exactly what we need to implement with horses!

The reason that pilates is so helpful for back pain, is that it works on core (abdominals and waist muscles) strength and good posture, basically straightening out the kinks in the spine to give all of the spinal joints enough space.

By using small specific exercises, we can switch on the core muscles, and over time give the horse a healthier and more flexible spine and back muscles.

4. Your horse will become more relaxed and more comfortable 

As you implement a core engagement plan with your horse, you will find that he becomes more relaxed in his body, in his attitude, and in his work because he is more comfortable - massive benefits!!

One of the benefits that my clients and course members notice with their horses as they go through a core engagement program, is how much more relaxed their horses become.

Transforming their posture by engaging their core, stretching out the topline, and being in a more ‘submissive’ lower neck position can actually take your horse out of flight mode - another benefit. And once this has happened, the more ‘flighty’ type of horse can actually relax properly, and then you have access to their brain - all from core engagement!

5. Easier to ride and lunge! 

Once you horse is engaging his core, his posture has started to improve, he has a lower neck position, he starts to relax more, the core work equalises his bend and over time he starts to work over his back correctly, in good posture!

And all of this translates into becoming easier to ride, easier to lunge, easier to work with, more relaxed, able to do more of the movements that you might have struggled with before.

In my opinion core engagement is a big missing piece for a lot of horses!

To learn how to train your horse to engage their core and work correctly over the back, why not join my new Online Learning Platform and VIP members group?

The Online Learning Platform is my growing library of training modules and videos, based around improving posture, core strength, exercise and wellness in the horse! You will get instant access to all of the training, plus a new training module every month, and access to my VIP members group! 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS: Online Learning Platform

Any questions, just drop me a message! Jenny x


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