Just found this article in thehorse.com
Pilates for Horses?
by: Marcia King
June 01 2009, Article # 14268
Preliminary results from research suggest you can strengthen your horseâ€™s core muscles to help him be healthier, no matter his job in life.
"One of the things we know from human medical research is that when people get back pain, the deep stabilizer muscles turn off. When the back pain goes away, these muscles don't turn on again. There is a very high recurrence rate of back pain, something like 70-80% in people (Hides, et. al, 2001). But if they go to physical therapy and learn how to turn on these deep stabilizer muscles, then the rates of recurrence of back pain are reduced to about 30%. We suspect the same thing is happening in horses.
More at: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=14268
This is from Hilary Clayton, a vet at Michigan State University, who's a dressage person and biomechanics person - http://cvm.msu.edu/research/endowed-cha ... s-medicine
They suggest a series of "core training" exercises...
â€¢ Head down/sideways
â€¢ Lateral bending
â€¢ Core strength/lifting belly
â€¢ Balance (tail pull)
Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University, nd Narelle Stubbs, an Australian animal physical therapist, have collaborated on a book and DVD project, Activate Your Horse's Core, a step-by-step guide demonstrating various core training exercises. "I was so impressed by how much they helped my competition horses that I really wanted to get the information out there," explains Clayton. "I wanted other people to benefit from it."
Some of the exercises in the book will be familiar to those who have worked with trainers and therapists, such as Linda Tellington-Jones (developer of TTeam and TTouch, used to relieve stress and pain). The DVD gives a full explanation of all the exercises, including how to perform them and their effects on the horse's performance. The book has laminated pages and spiral binding so that it can be used in the barn.
Equine practitioners caution horse owners to work with their veterinarians before employing such exercises, especially if rehabilitating an injured horse. Anecdotal results and preliminary research results seem promising, but the verdict is still out on this therapy.
I love the idea of Pilates for horses, strengthening the core in soft, slow, balanced ways. And looking a bit at what they're working on, I think the AND approach is actually a step or two beyond them in sophistication.
But cool to see another scientist agreeing with core conditioning ideas!
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