Resistance Bands Help Strengthen Horses’ Core Muscles

After four weeks of resistance band training, horses showed less unwanted vertebral movement along the back.
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The bands stimulate proprioception—self-awareness of where and how an individual’s body parts are being used—Rombach said. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Nicole Rombach
Good core muscle strength can give horses better vertebral stability, improving back health, performance, and welfare. But strengthening a horse’s core isn’t easy. A new study, however, suggests that a specific elastic band system designed for horses could help develop that strength.

After four weeks of training with resistance bands, horses showed less unwanted vertebral movement along the back from the withers to the croup, said Nicole Rombach, APM, MEEBW, CCBW, PG AM, MSc, PhD, president of Equinenergy/Caninenergy Ltd. and chair of the International Equine Body Worker Association for the United Kingdom and Europe.

The bands stimulate proprioception—self-awareness of where and how an individual’s body parts are being used—Rombach said, which results in the strengthening of muscles that regular exercise doesn’t usually affect.

“There’s constant feedback in motion between the stimulus (the bands) and the muscles via the skin, and movement is created, altered, and/or enhanced by stimulation of those muscles—in this case, with emphasis on core musculature (the abdominals, obliques, and hindquarter stabilizers, including the biceps femoris),” she said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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