How EquiAmi training aids work.
When we ride our horse, we ride it in a loop. This loop consists of our right arm, right shoulder, left shoulder, left arm, left hand, left rein, the bit, the right rein, the right hand and back to the right arm. This loop gives and takes with the horse as he lengthens and shortens and moves with the horse around turns and circles to keep a soft, consistent contact. We are taught that, in order to have softness and acceptance in the horse, we need to keep a soft, consistent contact with the horse via this communication loop. When there is tension or rigidity in the loop caused by fixed hands or tight arms, we are met with resistance and tension in the horse.
We lunge our horses to give them exercises to do that build up their musculature and fitness in order to improve their performance under saddle, yet when we lunge them we generally put them in a training aid that places them in some sort of restraint by fixing or applying pressure. This is the opposite of what we endeavor to achieve under saddle. It is far more logical to lunge the horse in a training aid that works in a similar way to the way we ride them; to encourage a soft consistent contact and to discourage leaning and resistance.
The unique patented design of EquiAmi training aids place the horse inside a self-centring loop. The positioning of the loop of the lungeing training aid encourages the horse to bring its hindlegs underneath its hindquarters, to lower its head and shorten its frame by developing wither lift. As the horse adopts a more rounded outline, it is immediately rewarded by the training aid becoming looser. When the training aid is working at its best, it is applying absolutely no pressure and the horse is working in a relaxed manner. As the loop is self-centring and is not fixed, the horse is unable to lean on the aid so has to learn to balance, lighten and carry itself. The safety loop that is incorperated in the lungeing aid allows sufficient free movement for all horses whilst preventing the horse from catching itself in the mouth at each stride. This can be seen in close-up in the video clip.
No other training aids incorporate both of these properties
The riding training aid also operates as a self-centering loop around the head and neck. The rider has to ride the horse forward into the loop to promote engagement of the hindquarters and the training aid encourages the horse to soften, accept the hand and come into a rounder outline. Immediately the horse responds to the training aid it is rewarded by the aid becoming looser.
Most training aids work by pressure or restraint. In our experience, horses tend to respond better to working inside a loop than to any type of restriction or pressure and riders are generally rewarded by a new level of balance, consistency, relaxation and harmony in their horse’s work.
Side reins, draw reins and most other gadgets and devices work by pressure and restraint. Side reins give a horse a crutch to lean on in the same way as hand rails do for us. Try this yourself: walk upstairs using the handrail, then walk upstairs without using the handrail. Do you notice how your posture changes? Using the handrail, you tilt to one side and do not use your back effectively. Take away the handrail and your posture immediately becomes more upright and level.
Any training aid that fixes the front end can have this effect; causing horses to lean. Leaning is not desirable for two reasons.
Horses that lean are not nice to ride, becoming heavy in the hand and through the steering. For a rider to enjoy their horse, this is a definite no no! Horses heads are very heavy, they should carry their heads themselves.
Leaning encourages the development of the lower neck muscles and we prefer our horses to develop a good topline, while keeping the lower neck muscles soft. You can check this for yourself. If you stand upright in a normal, relaxed manner and feel your neck, you will find that the muscles at the back of your neck are firm whils the muscles on either side at the front of your neck are soft. Now lean your chin on your other hand and feel what happens. You will notice how the muscles at the front of your neck immedaitely contract to support this new posture. When a horse leans it allows the lower neck muscles to build up, doing the work that the upper neck muscles should be doing. This in turn means that the desired development of the upper neck muscles that produce the topline is impaired.
Horses become resentful of draw reins as they soon realise that the more you pull, the lower they have to go. This resentment shows through their work and often these horses become behind the vertical and behind the bit, whilst not necessarily engaging.
It can sometimes take a horse a few sessions to work out that in EquiAmi training aids, we are not doing anything to them. It is up to them to work in the loop, and once they do, the results are amazing as resistance disappears, softness and swing become part of their workout and many horses are completely transformed.
We were granted a full UK patent in November 2006 - If you think that this is similar to any other training aids then think again; this is unique and brilliant.
Be brave; ditch the draw reins, scrap the side reins, get rid of old gadgets. The EquiAmi combi is the only training aid you will ever need for training and schooling the competition or pleasure horse.
Barry's Best, Rosie Thomas's top event horse working in the
EquiAmi lungeing aid as part of his Badminton preparation,
showing power with lightness and swing.
We are happy to offer demonstrations (with no obligation) at our premises, or will occasionally do a local home visit if time allows.
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