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Equilates - Introduction


Equilates educates and trains the rider, on and off the horse, from the inside out. It helps build a stable framework and body awareness from which confidence and harmony in the saddle can develop.

Equilates for the rider: Stability training from the inside out!

I knew that if the seat was right, everything else would fall so much more easily into place.. Sylvia Loche author of The Classical Seat.

A correct stable riding position is key to a successful partnership with your horse. Physical restrictions and imbalances in the rider have a huge impact on how the horse performs. Just correcting a position as we ride is only a short term fix. Education and corrective exercises are the answer to long term success. The Equilates team assess at the riders posture on and off the horse. Once imbalances have been highlighted we prescribe and teach specific pilates exercises which target the stabilizing muscles to straighten and stabilize the seat. The whole process creates a body awareness which enhances the synergy between horse and rider.

To further understand how Equilates works click here to view a case study on our rider.

Equilates for the horse: It is not just for the rider!

As a result of the appropriate gymnastics and training of the horse, the appearance and the movements of the horse will be more beautiful.. Colonel Alois Pohajsky

Although it is unlikely you will see a horse performing a shoulder bridge or a swan dive there are exercises and stretches to stabilize the equine core. Horses like humans need to train the stabilizing muscles to enable free movement comfort and longevity. With correct schooling we can encourage our horses to work in neutral and engage their core creating a straight, relaxed and rhythmical way of going. If the stabilizing muscles are firing correctly the chance of injury is decreased and the horses performance will continue to progress.

How can we expect our horses to stay relaxed and straight if we as riders are not?

In order to get the most from our horses we need to communicate clearly with them through our seat. It is very easy for this communication to break down if we are crooked or unbalanced in the saddle. If we rely on gripping through our legs or hanging on with our hands to stabilize our seat, it is impossible to make a connection with our horse therefore we cannot make ourselves understood when asking our horse to perform even a simple task. Without a correct balanced stable seat our horse will find it very difficult to perform to the best of his ability.

How can we achieve the correct seat?


By assessing the posture of our rider on and off the horse and understanding our limitations because of disability and injury we can begin to understand each riders individual requirements to strengthen the seat. For instance, if our rider suffers from sway or a flat back the pelvis is tilted backwards. This makes the rider sit with their bottom tucked under them and leaning back. Certain muscles become elongated and weak and others become short and strong. They will be less stable in the saddle therefore will rely on extremities (arms and legs) to remain in balance. How can we expect our horse to travel forward in a straight and relaxed manner with a rider that pulls on his mouth grips his side and is constantly behind the movement? Even riders with normal posture develop bad habits. For instance, many riders collapse one way resulting in more weight on one seat bone with a rigid and dropped hand. Again this misalignment will cause the horse to compensate in such a way that hinders optimum movement.

How can Equilates Help?


With Equilates we assess the rider in and out of the saddle. We identify any restrictions that are apparent and devise a specific program of moves on and off the horse to help our rider deal with the challenges of their postural misalignment. Through assessment we can determine whether our riders core and stabilising muscles are firing correctly. Without core endurance and spinal stability our rider will rely on global muscles to stabilize (fixing an arm or leg). Through practicing Equilates we can learn to put our bodies into the correct alignment, increase core endurance and spinal stability. We will also learn to isolate certain muscles and switch off others creating body awareness. This in turn will create a strong secure effective seat.

How Does Equilates Work?


  • Rider postural assessment on and off the horse
  • Assess postural function in and out of the saddle
  • How does this affect the horse?
  • Identify any restrictions, ie tight muscles, back shoulder neck issues etc
  • Remove the restrictions (may require treatment)
  • Apply the Equilates Training Protocol
  • Reassess the rider off the horse
  • Reassess the rider on the horse