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.
EquiAmi Lunge Aid:
Tack up horse with snaffle bridle & cavesson or EquiAmi cavesson with bit straps, bit and lungeing roller. Attach leather chest piece of training aid to belly of roller. Tie the horse up or have a helper to fit rope sections.
Take hind piece of lunge loop (coded red) and pass one end from back to front through D ring on side of roller.
Undo safety clip and pass outside D ring and refasten.
Pass rope around quarters of horse and pass through D ring on opposite side of roller and fasten safety loop on outside of D ring as before.
Select front piece of lunge loop (coded green) and join to hind piece by fastening one clip to the ring at the end of the hind piece.
Pass free end through the bit ring from outside to inside, then down and through the oval loop on chest piece, up through the other bit ring from inside to outside and clip to the other end of the hind piece to form a loop.
Adjust both parts of the loop using the sliding adjusters to create a light ‘contact tension’ (not pulling or sagging) and ensure the D ring on the roller is fairly central in the safety loop to allow some free movement.
The horse can now be lunged in the normal way, but preferably not directly from the bit as this disturbs the soft, equal contact created by the aid.
EquiAmi Riding Aid:
Tack up horse with snaffle bridle and saddle. Attach leather or webbing chest piece of training aid to belly of girth.
Take the riding loop (plain black) and fit the long piece first.
Place the long piece centrally over the poll (top of head). The ring should sit centrally at the top of the neck.
Take each end in turn and pass each one through the bit ring from outside to inside. Fasten each clip to the end ring of the short piece to form a loop.
Attach clip on short piece to the oval loop on chest piece.
Adjust using the sliding adjusters (top and bottom) to take up excess lack without creating any tension, i.e. the loop is having no effect but is not sagging. Ensure adjusters do not come within contact distance of the bit ring so that free movement is not obstructed.
What are the main benefits of using the EquiAmi lungeing aid?
1.Easy to fit: less than two minutes to a horse prepared for lungeing.
2.Readily accepted: free movement & lack of tension means less resistance.
3.Simple to adjust: the loop doesn’t require both sides to be adjusted.
4.Soft equal contact: the aid self-centres giving the horse a soft, equal contact.
5.Self-centring: no adjustment required for changes of rein.
6.Easy to un-tack: quickly comes apart for un-tacking.
7.Saves time: quick and easy to use and saves time in professional yards.
8.Easy to use: makes lungeing less intimidating for inexperienced users.
9.DVD instructions: comes with a DVD and fully illustrated instruction booklet.
10.Storage: comes in a Hessian storage bag to hang in the tack room.
How soon will I receive my training aid?
We aim to dispatch all orders within one working day whenever possible. We use Royal Mail packet or parcel post depending on the size of the parcel and include compensation cover where appropriate.
Isn't this just the same as other training aids that are available?
Absolutely not! We have been granted a full UK patent for EquiAmi training aids; something that we are very proud of. It is different and is now officially recognised as being different and novel. Once you have seen it working you begin to see the difference.
I want to try a training aid, but I am sure that I will find it too complicated to use and adjust.
The EquiAmi training aids are very user friendly. Both aids are self-centring so you don’t have to worry about adjusting both sides equally, and no adjustment is need for changes of direction. This saves both time and hassle. The adjusters were chosen as they are easy to use even when wearing gloves.
Is there any point in buying a training aid for a competition horse with no particular problems?
It is good for your horse’s back for him to be worked from the floor once or twice a week. Using the EquiAmi lungeing training aid, your horse can have a good workout in a relatively short time and this can be very useful during fittening work. We often neglect the important muscles that support the saddle and rider. Under saddle the blood flow can be restricted in this area. By allowing these muscles to 'pump up' in a gymnastic workout as provided by use of the EquiAmi lungeing aid, they will be better able to support the saddle away from the spine therefore improving both comfort and performance.
My horse has a habit of resisting the bit, especially in transitions. Will the EquiAmi riding training aid help me to resolve this?
Undoubtedly, as this aid helps the horse to accept the hand, and to establish a much lighter, lower and softer contact with the bit.
What happens if my horse doesn’t like the training aid?
In our experience, horses generally accept the training aid quite quickly as it does not pull or force them into a shape. It quietly encourages them to work in a softer rounded outline then rewards them for doing so. Many people are amazed at how well their horses go and how little resistance is offered.
Will the training aid rub my horse?
In our experience of over two years of use on many different horses, no horses have been rubbed. The rope was chosen, as it is high strength yet very soft and light. When fitted and used according to the instructions, the aids are never tight, or used for long periods. Our motto is 'if it's tight; it's too tight'. The hind piece is not much more than a fillet string and as it is used for short periods only, no issues have been found.
How soon can I expect to see my horse improve using the EquiAmi lungeing training aid?
Sometimes it can take a horse two or three sessions before they learn to ‘work inside the loop’ though this often happens quite quickly. You can then expect to see your horse start work in a better outline. As with any work to change muscle profile, it takes several weeks to increase muscle mass. You will know yourself that one or two sessions in the gym are not enough to create a ‘six-pack’ from untrained muscles. Changes that are brought about over time are less stressful for the horse and more likely to be long-term in nature.
Isn't it the same as a Pessoa lunge system ?
EquiAmi differs from Pessoa in two main ways
The EquiAmi lunge aid differs from the Pessoa in two main ways.
Firstly with the EquiAmi lungeing aid, the whole aid is a loop therefore there is equal tension (or freedom) all the way round. This makes it unnecessary to alter anything for direction changes as it self-centres and is always equal. When adjusting the size of the loop you don’t need to adjust both sides as there are not really any ‘sides’ as it is a self-centring loop.
Secondly the fact that the loop moves with the horse as he moves means that there is no fixed point therefore the horse cannot lean on it so they work lighter and in more self carriage rather than becoming downhill (which can happen in a Pessoa as the front section is fixed back to the roller). This brings much more softness, lightness and swing into the horse’s work. The small loop at the D ring of the roller allows sufficient free movement for even the biggest horse but prevents the jabbing of the mouth by the hind leg action. It also prevents the horse catching its mouth should he spook or do a ‘whooppee’.
It is very easy to put on and feels little different (to a horse) to a fillit string on a rug so is often more acceptable to many horses especially if they dislike pressure or restraint. I can put one on in 40 seconds (horse has roller, boots and bridle/cavesson on) but I reckon about two minutes for the first couple of times for a new user. The chest piece attaches to the roller and the rope is in two colour coded sections that fit around the horse and join together to form a loop. For a horse that is skittish I would be inclined to put it on and let him get the feel of it in the stable for a few minutes, but generally horses accept it very kindly, even those who tend to throw themselves about or have a strop when they feel they are under pressure.
I think what we do on the lunge should be more comparable to what we do under saddle which is why the loop is so successful as we ride in a loop with our arms/reins/hands and bit and ask our horses to become soft in response to communication through this loop. Lungeing them in a similar loop promotes topline and engagement but also induces lift and swing through the back into a soft, equal contact. If a horse has nothing to lean on, he starts to carry himself properly and becomes balanced. It is as simple as that really.