Activate your Horses’ Core

Dr. Hilary Clayton’s video Activate your Horses’ Core, features a series of stretching and mobilization exercises for the horse. With Big Guy’s pelvic fracture and rehabilitation, I was very interested in getting this dvd through my online, horse dvd rental group, and see what I could do to continue his improvement.

Dr. Clayton is the Dressage Chair for the McPhail Equine Sports Medicine Center at Michigan State Univeristy and has been studying Equine Biomechanics and lameness issues for decades. Her research is backed with scientific examination, which is of particular interest to me as I feel way too many recommendations or horse “advice” for training and care is based on heresay.

Okay the bad first: the sound on this dvd goes up and down because they used a mic on the woman’s collar (the speaker is Dr. Narelle Stubbs, an animal physical therapist). When she turns her head, the volume shoots way up, and then when she turns away you only hear a mumble. I feel there is too much repetitive information about the benefit of the exercises; this could have been condensed into the intro or as a summary.

In regards to the danger of feeding treats (she recommends gloves to prevent nipping) wouldn’t it be easier to clicker train your horse and insist he take the treat with manners? And you could use clicker training to shape the duration of the hold in the stretch which should be 3-5 seconds instead of feeding more treats to keep the horses’ attention.

Lastly, in the beginning we are told about some safety concerns, and then Dr. Stubbs (the animal physio-therapist) immediately does what she told us not to do! (places herself between the horse and a wall).

This dvd would also have benefited from a color graphic of skeleton and muscle structures of the horse… however, I do think the information contained within is so good and pertinent that I would buy it – it also comes with an accompanying book (that didn’t come with the dvd) which might have resolved some of my concerns about the dvd.


These exercises are grouped into three areas, and are progressive in nature (meaning the first set is the easiest, on to the third set being hardest):

Mobilization – works the intervertebral joints, the space that is located between any two adjacent vertebrae, such as along the neck and spine.

Corestrengthens the muscles (i.e. the admoninals) responsible for posture and spine and pelvic stabilization.

Balancing shifting weight from side to side or front to back. Personally, I found these to be somewhat advanced, and was glad to read (as the dvd didn’t discuss it) that Dr. Clayton would recommend you work with your horse for six months with the other exercises before proceeding to these.

I will be examining these three areas in a separate post for each and hopefully have some video also of what Big Guy can do as compared to ZZ (who has much less flexibility and training).

Other articles you might want to check out:

Dr. Claytons’ books and dvd available for purchase online. Actually, despite the problems I mentioned, I feel so strongly that these exercises are good that I will be buying the dvd with the book.

The Horse – has a comprehensive review of what you would use these for, what is appropriate for the horse, and more from Dr. Clayton. It also discusses some of the research Dr. Clayton and her animal physical therapist Dr. Narelle Stubbs have conducted.

This entry was posted in chiropractor & massage, Clicker Training, Core Stability Exercises, Healthcare, horse with pelvis fracture, Tristan and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Activate your Horses’ Core

  1. Pingback: Activate: Mobilization exercises « Horse Ideology

  2. Pingback: 30 day plan « Horse Ideology

  3. Pingback: chiropractor « Horse Ideology

  4. Pingback: Strengthening the hindquarters « Common Sense Rider

  5. Pingback: Fostering Correct Movement « Common Sense Horsemanship

  6. Pingback: Strengthening the hindquarters | horseideology

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