Activate Your Horses Core: Unmounted Exercises for Dynamic Mobility, Strength and Balance by Narelle C. Stubbs and Hilary M. ClaytonActivate Your Horses Core consists of a 95 minute DVD and a step-by-step manual with laminated pages and spiral binding that can be taken to the barn.
The DVD and manual show how to perform exercises that mobilize the joints and engage the muscles used to round and stabilize the horses neck, back and pelvis during athletic activities.
In addition to improving strength and flexibility, these exercises will improve your horses posture, self-carriage and balance, especially in the highly-collected movements.
The exercises are performed from the ground and do not require sophisticated equestrian skills or special equipment.
The exercises have been designed by a veterinarian and a physical therapist to improve performance and reduce the risk of injuries by strengthening the muscles of your horses core.
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In the March issue of Dressage Today , Drs. Hilary Clayton and Narelle Stubbs provide a general overview and some specific unmounted exercises to help you address your horse's dynamic mobility, strength and balance in an excerpt from their book, Activate Your Horse's Core. Core training for the horse is like Pilates for the human athlete; it is a cross-training mechanism by which the horse's body learns how to move, gains strength and finds balance. In the following video excerpt, Dr. Clayton holds him. The video clip covers thoracic, lumbar and lumbosacral lifting combined with lateral bending.
Anyone who has pilates classes knows how it strengthens your "core" muscles, but did you know similar stretches and exercises can also strengthen and condition your horse? According to Clayton, core strength of the muscles that support and move the neck, vertebrae, ribcage, and sternum improves control of horses' neck and back movements, allows the horse to generate propulsion more effectively, and protects against back injuries. The core-strengthening dynamic mobilization exercises that Clayton is a proponent of are a series of baited stretches and stimulated movements performed from the ground, preferably in a safe enclosed area. Baited stretches include enticing the horse to bring his chin to his chest, knees, front fetlocks, girth, flank, or hock and holding the position for several seconds. Increased range of motion of intervertebral joints to a degree than cannot be achieved under saddle; and Strengthening of the muscles that move and stabilize the back during locomotion. These exercises are particularly useful in young horses preparing for work under saddle; in horses that are returning to work after a layoff; in high level competition horses that are required to perform collected work; and in horses as rehabilitation after colic surgery talk to your veterinarian first and wait one month after surgery to start the exercises.
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Hilary Clayton —equestrian, veterinarian, author, researcher, and clinician — is known internationally for her ongoing contribution to the understanding of equine biomechanics particularly relating to performance and conditioning. Clayton conducts her research and teaches classes. Since the center opened in the year , incredible progress has been made culminating in world-renowned research to benefit performance and soundness of equine athletes. While the purpose of the performance center is specifically to research all aspects of the relationship between veterinary medicine and dressage performance, with special emphasis on the prevention and treatment of lameness, certainly the work they are doing there benefits all horses and humans seeking success in elite sport. A lifelong rider, Dr.