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USER GUIDES

How to Fit Equine Balance Bands

Watch the video guide to learn how to position and fit the saddle pad and band system. 

WATCH THE SHORT VIDEO HERE

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POSITION OF THE BANDS

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A summary of the key points is available below:

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  • Secure the saddle pad to saddle or roller by lifting into the gullet and securing with both the Velcro and girth straps. 

  • Fit the abdominal band first. Click securely into the buckle holder.  Check the horse's response. 

  • Fit the hind quarter band next. Click securely into the buckle holder. Check the horse's response. 

  • Check the band tension by placing a hand between the horse and the band. A supportive, hugging feel is most effective. The band is too loose if your hand can be moved easily. The band is too tight if your hand feels restricted.

How to Adjust Equine Balance Bands

Equine Balance Bands are designed to provide an optimum level of sensory stimulation when applied to the horse's body.

The unique material of the bands can make adjustments a little fiddly - Follow the guidelines below to ensure that the bands remain evenly tensioned and securely in position.

  • Always unclip the bands before making alterations to the length.

  • After adjusting the bands, secure in place by passing the spare length of band back through the keeper.

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  • Check that the band lies smooth in the buckle holder with no excessive pressure on any one point.

  • Once the correct fit is achieved, excess band can be cut away using a scissors. 

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KEY POINTS FOR ADJUSTING EQUINE BALANCE BANDS

  • After adjusting the bands to the correct length, slide the keeper close to the buckle. This will ensure an even tension of the band on both sides of the horse.

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KEEPER POSITIONED BELOW BUCKLE

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RE-THREAD TAIL THROUGH KEEPER TO SECURE

  • The bands are designed to provide the optimum level of stimulation when used for equestrian core training and the development of body position sense awareness in horses. They are thicker and slightly tackier than human thera-bands which can mean that adjustments may take a little longer. 

  • To adjust the band length follow the illustrated guidelines. The band system can be altered to fit a variety of horses from small to extra large. When there is more than one horse that uses the system and where time is a constraint, it may be more efficient to use one pre-adjusted set of bands per horse thus alleviating the need to make adjustments between training sessions.

  • Additional sets of bands are interchangeable between all saddle pad systems and can be purchased through the web shop by clicking below.

Guidance on Using the Equine Balance Bands System

When using Equine Balance Bands for general strengthening and conditioning of the horse, apply the recommendations below to gain maximum benefit from the system.

For rehabilitative exercise following recovery from ailment or injury consult your attending veterinary or physiotherapy provider for specific advise about using Equine Balance Bands as part of the recovery program.

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Introducing the Equine Balance Bands System

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It is recommended to familiarise your horse to the feel of the bands in a safe environment and to ensure that the horse willingly accepts the band contact before mounting.

  • Introduce the abdominal band first. Fitting the hind band first may not be as effective if the back is inclined to hollow.

  • To help the horse understand the concept of recruiting the abdominal musculature it may be helpful to do some rounding and thoracic lifting exercises from the ground.

  • When the horse shows signs of maintaining engagement during basic exercise it is appropriate to add the hind quarter band.

  • Introduce the bands at the beginning of a training session. This is the most effective way to begin training a new or different motor pattern and way of going.

  • Progression will differ between individual horses. However , as a guide it can take between 3 to 4 weeks of daily or regular conditioning for the motor pattern to become established

  • Consider that the horse may be recruiting new or previously under used muscle groups. This activation of the deep supporting musculature may cause the horse to fatigue if demanded for too long or at too high an intensity.

  • To avoid fatigue, it is recommended to decrease the normal training session duration by half and gradually increase use in accordance with the horse's progress.

Planning the Training Schedule

With regular use of the Equine Balance Bands Core Conditioning System the horse’s muscle tone and neuro muscular coordination improve over time. As the horse’s body strengthens and positive movement patterns become more habitual, the frequency of application can be reduced. The goal is for the horse to be able to work comfortably and efficiently in self carriage, becoming less reliant on the bands or corrective exercises as training progresses.

This is a gradual process, and although many riders and trainers report a noticeable difference in their horse’s way of going from day one, it must be remembered that muscular adaption to a new training method can take at least 4 to 6 weeks, and a consolidated neuro response can take longer.

It is important from a therapeutic and conditioning point of view that training is graduated, and progression monitored carefully. The horse must not be hurried or pushed to the point of fatigue as tension, soft tissue stress, and inefficient metabolic processes will inhibit muscle development and progress.

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Suggested Training Program

There are 3 progressive training stages to the program.

Equine Balance Bands recommend adopting a patient but progressive approach to training, taking into consideration the horse's individual characteristics, current level of fitness, and the exercise duration and intensity.

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USE EQUINE BALANCE BANDS ON A REGULAR / DAILY BASIS

In the initial stages of training the horse is subject to a regular stimulus by the daily application of the bands, this provides the nervous system with sufficient body-brain-body feedback to program the desired neural pattern.

TIME FRAME - First 3 to 4 weeks.

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REDUCE THE FREQUENCY OF APPLICATION

In the progressive stage of training the bands can be applied less frequently. By this stage, the horse should have adopted the required movement out put pattern and be capable of engaging the core and maintaining balance for longer periods of time. Use of the bands can be decreased to 2 - 4 sessions weekly.

TIME FRAME - Following 6 to 8 weeks

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USE AS NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN TONE AND CONDITION

When satisfied that the horse has fully developed the supporting musculature and can maintain balance during training, the goals in stages 1 and 2 have been achieved. Equine Balance Bands can be used as required to maintain muscle tone and ensure the correct motor pattern is holding.

TIME FRAME - Ongoing as required

How to Care for the Equine Balance Bands System

To maximise the lifespan of your Equine Balance Bands System and to ensure that all parts remain in good working order please follow these product care guidelines.

  • Avoid the use of chemicals such as fly spray or coat sheen on the horse’s coat in areas where the bands are positioned. This will cause significant erosion to the bands and may cause a skin reaction.

  • Check that the bands are folded neatly and securely through the buckle and glider. Tying knots in the bands will result in uneven tension and excessive force in places.

  • The saddle pad can be cleaned using a delicate or hand wash, in cool water, using a mild detergent and leaving to air dry.

  • The bands can be cleaned with petroleum free soap, rinsed, and left to air dry.

  • Store the system at a cool temperature. Avoiding exposure to extreme cold or direct sunlight.

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Safety Advice

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Most horses that are accustomed to being handled, rugged and girthed up readily accept the application of Balance Bands in addition to their usual tack. However please remember that horses can be unpredictable.

  • It is advisable to familiarise the horse with the bands in a controlled, secure and safe setting.

  • The responsibility lies with the owner/handler to carefully inspect all equipment prior to use. A calculated and accurate assessment should be made regarding the horse’s character, surroundings, and proposed training plan before commencing exercise.

  • Protective head gear and equipment should be worn when handling and riding horses.

  • If the horse has a diagnosed condition, Equine Balance Bands must only be used under the recommendation of your attending vet or physiotherapist.

  • Follow all product care guidelines as outlined above and fit the system as recommended in the fitting guide / video above.

  • The saddle pad should be secured to the saddle or training roller using the Velcro and webbing straps and girth loops. The saddle or roller should be tensioned sufficiently to prevent the saddle or roller from moving.

  • When attaching the bands to the saddle pad, ensure that the male band buckle is fully inserted into the female saddle pad buckle and is locked in position.

  • Avoid the use of sharp objects such as spurs near the product.

  • Check bands before and after each use for signs of wear and tear. Resistance bands do have a finite life span and will need to be replaced periodically. All equine balance Band products come with a 6-month warranty and will be replaced for free if required within a 6-month period from date of purchase. If the band appears damaged, cease use immediately and dispose of with care.

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