Pilates for Horses
Gillian developed her 'Pilates' for horses
exercises and techniques as she recognised that many horses, as well as people, could
benefit from improved posture, core strength,
stability, flexibility, coordination and balance.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a conditioning system that increases core stability, strength and body awareness; redresses imbalances, and realigns the body from the inside out. It can improve posture, achieve a balance between strength and flexibility and relieve tension. It is popular with Olympic athletes and sportsmen from all disciplines.
Developed by Joseph Pilates, an authority on movement and biomechanics, he continually developed and refined a programme of exercises and stretches based on the principle that a strong core supports the back and minimises the risk of muscular damage.
But...Pilates for Horses?
Many of the Pilates principals can be applied to the horse. Core stability and strength are as important to horses as they are to riders. Maintaining stability, posture and balance can contribute to more effective training, improved performance and can reduce the risk of injury.
Stimulating and strengthening the core muscles will come through correct work and skilful use of ridden movements and exercises as directed by your trainer. There are however a number of exercises, performed from the ground, which can supplement ridden work to help to improve core stability.
By performing these specific exercises, the core muscles that make for good posture, a strong back and assist in carrying the weight of the rider can be strengthened. These include the deep internal muscles of the abdomen, pelvis, thoracic sling, and back together with the more superficial muscles of the trunk.
Core strengthening exercises can be invaluable as part of a rehabilitation programme following injury. Using specific exercises to target and stimulate weak or injured muscles can be particularly useful. Following permission from your vet, any well-qualified therapist will be able to advise on an individually designed programme of exercises.