Equiami - will it help?

Minny

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Pony has a go to response to run round arena with nose in the air when worrying. Wondering what your experiences are with the equiami to help solve ingrained problems rather than training young blank canvases?
 

Melody Grey

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I haven’t used one for corrective purposes in established horses, only as a training aid for lunging but can’t see why it wouldn’t work if used appropriately......assuming you mean lunging? If for ridden work, a martingale might be just the job?
 

Cortez

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I haven’t used one for corrective purposes in established horses, only as a training aid for lunging but can’t see why it wouldn’t work if used appropriately......assuming you mean lunging? If for ridden work, a martingale might be just the job?
What's wrong with just training it properly? OP, tying the horse down won't fix the problem. In my experience all these trussing up type gadgets just sock the horse in the mouth with every stride and you'd be better getting the horse to respond properly to your leg and seat aids. Martingales, in particular running martingales, are either an admission of defeat or of not bothering to train at all.
 

be positive

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What's wrong with just training it properly? OP, tying the horse down won't fix the problem. In my experience all these trussing up type gadgets just sock the horse in the mouth with every stride and you'd be better getting the horse to respond properly to your leg and seat aids. Martingales, in particular running martingales, are either an admission of defeat or of not bothering to train at all.
My first thought was the same, training is the key, finding out why it worries so you can avoid certain situations, desensitise and build confidence is all part of a well thought out training process, short cuts and gadgets rarely help resolve an issue that may have been caused by short cuts in the first place.
 

Minny

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Fully appreciate advice to train “properly” but post was to specifically ask whether anyone has had any success solving ingrained problems by using an equiami. I know “gadgets” are not for everyone and I am not recommending their use just enquiring as to whether anyone has had any success with an equiami.
 

Cortez

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Define "success"........I have used one on the orders of an employer many years ago; wasn't impressed either with the results or the mechanics of the thing (see "socking in the gob" comment above). I know there are people who think they're the bees knees, but really; just take the time to train the horse, or get an instructor to show you how or do it for you.
 

Minny

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Define "success"........I have used one on the orders of an employer many years ago; wasn't impressed either with the results or the mechanics of the thing (see "socking in the gob" comment above). I know there are people who think they're the bees knees, but really; just take the time to train the horse, or get an instructor to show you how or do it for you.
Thanks Cortez, good to have an opinion from someone who has used the equipment. I have been using an experienced flatwork instructor for 6 months with this horse, it was a suggestion she had made, backed up by the vet Physio that has been treating the horse. I am always sceptical about “shortcuts” but if there is something that can be part of an overall strategy, I am happy to consider it. Success for us would be an improvement in his way going, more relaxed in accepting the contact and when he worries, just lifting his head rather than shoving his nose out.
 
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AdorableAlice

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Fitted correctly the equiami should not sock it in the mouth, but a horse can still sit above it and remain hollow, especially if the horse has gone in such a way for years and all the musculature structure is already wrong. Basically it cannot physically lift the withers and step through. I bought a mare that had been hung onto as a young horse with the rider sitting on the back of the saddle and holding himself on board by his hands and her mouth.

She was the most crooked and inverted bike like creature to ride imaginable. I tried the equiami without much success. She would give for a couple of steps but couldn't maintain her shape and soon realised she could just hollow and lean on the lunge line. She also either flew round like a kite or just refused to move and pulled faces at me. Her way of telling me she couldn't do what I was asking I suppose. She is also built like a brick outhouse and if an argument started I was likely to lose.

We ended up schooling her in walk for what seemed like an age (under saddle), using quarter piri's to encourage her to step under with the inside hind and having the feeling of controlling every step and limb. It was painstaking but slowly she gave her neck and lifted her tummy muscles. Endless half halts, providing she was in balance also helped. Then we could move the shoulders and start lateral work and move on to trot. She is 12 now and a nice ride, I do find using a bit she cannot grab helps keep her soft but in an exciting situation she can still revert to her old way of going quite quickly and has poked me in the eye with her ears on more than one occasion, bless her !
 

Minny

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Fitted correctly the equiami should not sock it in the mouth, but a horse can still sit above it and remain hollow, especially if the horse has gone in such a way for years and all the musculature structure is already wrong. Basically it cannot physically lift the withers and step through. I bought a mare that had been hung onto as a young horse with the rider sitting on the back of the saddle and holding himself on board by his hands and her mouth.

She was the most crooked and inverted bike like creature to ride imaginable. I tried the equiami without much success. She would give for a couple of steps but couldn't maintain her shape and soon realised she could just hollow and lean on the lunge line. She also either flew round like a kite or just refused to move and pulled faces at me. Her way of telling me she couldn't do what I was asking I suppose. She is also built like a brick outhouse and if an argument started I was likely to lose.

We ended up schooling her in walk for what seemed like an age (under saddle), using quarter piri's to encourage her to step under with the inside hind and having the feeling of controlling every step and limb. It was painstaking but slowly she gave her neck and lifted her tummy muscles. Endless half halts, providing she was in balance also helped. Then we could move the shoulders and start lateral work and move on to trot. She is 12 now and a nice ride, I do find using a bit she cannot grab helps keep her soft but in an exciting situation she can still revert to her old way of going quite quickly and has poked me in the eye with her ears on more than one occasion, bless her !
Thank you, this is really interesting and sounds very similar to what I am trying to resolve. Pony spent 4 years being pinned in. He now accepts the contact in walk and trot but relies heavily on support for the outside contact but as soon as a distraction or rider imbalance comes into play, the nose comes out. Perhaps the equiami won’t help and I need to continue us as we are but it is really useful getting real experience
 

ycbm

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I hope this will help you. I am currently retraining an exceptionally stiff ex racer (and I've done a few to compare) whose go to is to cramp back and stick his nose out and head up. The answer for him is not to put him in any gadget that ties his front end to his back end, but to ride him forwards and out, and to break the back end from the front end with a turn/corner/circle every time I feel him set rigid on me.

Like AA above, we are doing a large amount of work in walk. One of my favourite exercises for him is what I call the lollipop tree, a series of alternating direction 5-10 m circles

On a pony like you describe, my first reaction would be to put the pony onto small squares, with a proper 90 degree turn on each corner, until he gives up the tension.
 
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gunnergundog

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Pony spent 4 years being pinned in. He now accepts the contact in walk and trot but relies heavily on support for the outside contact but as soon as a distraction or rider imbalance comes into play, the nose comes out. Perhaps the equiami won’t help and I need to continue us as we are but it is really useful getting real experience
Given that he relies on support I would suggest that you have a balance issue and go back to lunging in a plain cavasson without a jockey so that the horse can find his own balance at all paces. It may also be worth getting a good physio to give him a once over as he will have been using incorrect muscles for so long; the physio will also be able to give you in-hand exercises to do to wake up the dormant/correct muscles that he needs to bring into play to change his posture.

PS the nose coming out is good! Coming up and inverting, not.
 

mule

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Mine spent years pinned in as well. The way I got him to stop leaning was lots of half halts from the seat. I just squeeze with my thighs and then release instead of half halting with my hands.
 

AdorableAlice

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OP, here is the Equiami in use, as you can see the mare was set against it. These pictures were taken 2012 shortly after I had bought her, she was 6. I did give it several tries but eventually gave up.



In walk she was still resisting it, look at the underside of her neck.



Occasionally she stepped under, but she is heavily on her forehand (obviously her build doesn't help her) and she could not maintain any form of self carriage, the back end of the gadget is loose, but look at the front end, that should also be loose but it isn't. She certainly does not have a happy or relaxed look about her.





I can understand how the loops attached at the surcingle is supposed to float and prevent the horse leaning on the gadget, but my horse was able to lean all over it, despite the 'how to use it' info claiming the gadget self rights and is not fixed at any point. Maybe I didn't have it fitted correctly. I haven't tried it again on her or any of the others. Possibly a more athletically built horse will find it easy to work in the equiami ?
 

Minny

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OP, here is the Equiami in use, as you can see the mare was set against it. These pictures were taken 2012 shortly after I had bought her, she was 6. I did give it several tries but eventually gave up.



In walk she was still resisting it, look at the underside of her neck.



Occasionally she stepped under, but she is heavily on her forehand (obviously her build doesn't help her) and she could not maintain any form of self carriage, the back end of the gadget is loose, but look at the front end, that should also be loose but it isn't. She certainly does not have a happy or relaxed look about her.





I can understand how the loops attached at the surcingle is supposed to float and prevent the horse leaning on the gadget, but my horse was able to lean all over it, despite the 'how to use it' info claiming the gadget self rights and is not fixed at any point. Maybe I didn't have it fitted correctly. I haven't tried it again on her or any of the others. Possibly a more athletically built horse will find it easy to work in the equiami ?
This is how I imagine our efforts could end up! Thank you for uploading pics. I have found a friend who has suggested I try theirs which I have taken them up on. I will update the thread in a few weeks. (Perhaps I will get photographic evidence too) The horse is super sensitive so it will probably take a week to get the thing on but if I liked a flutter, I’d probably say it won’t help but let’s see!
 
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Then you need to do back to basics.

If you cant walk/trot/canter on a loose rein and do circles without touching the mouth then you are both relying on each other for support.

Dont get me wrong mine are far from able to do all of that at the moment.
One is just getting it in walk and trot bitvwe have just restarted canter and its loose rein and make him go forwards at the moment. I want the canter, dont care if its pretty, pretty can come later.

Walk and trot i can give the reins and he stays the same speed and will turn through my legs/seat.

This to me will be far better than the equiami.
 

Minny

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so after digesting much of the advice, I decided I was perhaps being influenced by my instructor and by how others on my yard train. Lunging/long reining/Pessoa/equiami etc is built into the weekly training routine of many I know. It works for those who use it but I took on board the comments about doing it in saddle rather than using gadgets. For my pony, this advice has been absolutely correct. Using a ‘gadget’ would have created worry and tension. The opposite of what I need to achieve. I keep these ridden training sessions short but regular and the results are beginning to show. Nailed it in walk. Reasonably consistent in trot, canter.....flashes of accepting the contact are becoming moments. Transitions are good so long as I am completely still (I need some work but am getting better). So......no training aids required.....I am grateful for the advice as it has saved me some pennies buying equipment I don’t need.
 

Scarlett

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Fully appreciate advice to train “properly” but post was to specifically ask whether anyone has had any success solving ingrained problems by using an equiami. I know “gadgets” are not for everyone and I am not recommending their use just enquiring as to whether anyone has had any success with an equiami.
Yes, I have. To help an older horse get and remain sound after diagnosis and treatment of SI, hock and stifle issues. He'd become crooked, unlevel and hollow. The EquiAmi has helped hugely and I would recommend it. Horse is now 21, jumping again, sound and strong enough to maybe go to an ODE this year and he is still lunged once or twice weekly in the EquiAmi.

I'm not a gadget person at all but options with horse were limited. Dark winter nights with only a small school, no access to hacking at weekends (Army ranges that were shut during daylight hours and very, very busy roads) IMO sometimes the situation isn't perfect and you have to look outside of the things you would do normally do to get the outcome you want. Our horse was headed for PTS and HAD to be worked a certain way to get him engaged and stronger. Not everyone could ride him that way (he had a sharer who wasn't quite as capable and I had 3 other horses to do too) so the Equi-Ami provided a great solution and did exactly what we wanted.

I occasionally use it on my other horses too, it's helped build up a horse I have who struggles to work in a frame and he has been happy to accept it. It doesn't 'fix' them down as it floats and moves, but just guides them into the frame, they can still change the frame within it. It's the only gadget I own and I am very pleased I bought it.
 

SEL

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I've used the equiami to help a horse with muscular issues (she's off for other reasons right now) and I thought it was a great piece of kit for encouraging her to stay straight. Just 5 mins twice a week to start with and then build up to 15 mins twice a week. Her muscle issues meant she needed to try and strengthen her core without the weight of a rider on board every day.

AA's photos do look tighter in front than I have mine - but I had to buy the extender. When my mare is relaxed the strings at the front aren't tight.

Incidentally it was when my mare suddenly started resisting it rather than relaxing into it that I started to think there was something going on leg-wise, which led to her coming out of work.
 

BBP

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No idea if this will help, my horse wasnt exactly a stargazer but always hollow and banana shaped. I began to work at liberty with him, asking him to lower his head when I touched his neck in a certain place whilst standing. Used a clicker to mark and reward. The progressed to walking next to him, same touch cue, drop head, click, reward. Then trot next to him, touch, cue, drop head, click, reward. Add in voice cue with touch cue. Gradually move further away and just use the voice cue, drop head, click, reward. Then overtime wait longer with the head lower before the click and reward until he is doing ‘proper’ loose lunging around me with nose dropped. To start with he tried too hard to get it right and would trot and canter along with nose on floor, tripping himself up. But then I was able to add a little more activity behind and he started to lift his forehand and carry himself in a nicer frame. I’m in no way saying it’s perfect, but there was no force or gadgets to create tension, everything was done with him wanting to work for the reward. It has helped so so much with our ridden work, his canter is stronger and more balanced and his back is healthier.

These two photos are actually from the same session months ago and not in his best shape (very fat and with a slight injury) but closest I could find to compare examples of his typical frame before and after. 0E4226F7-00BF-4A07-9B21-B624A310822B.jpeg 29EB5A9A-A1FB-4DD8-A89A-06C7CCB14C6A.jpeg
 

Trules

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Hi. I have found it to be an excellent bit of kit. I have a connie who has learnt to balance his canter beautifully using the equi ami. He is now really consistent in his ridden canter work i feel the equi ami helped a lot
 

poiuytrewq

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What’s the difference in an equiami and Passoa type lunge aid?
Sorry probably could google that but I mean in terms of how they actually help rather than just how the look/fit
 

Orangehorse

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I have used the equiami and was happy with it, I could see the horse changing shape. It is only used for a few minutes at a time. However I did try it on a pony, with a very careful introduction in the yard, after lunging work until he was used to it, and then tried it he he bolted and I was only able to get hold of him when he fell over, didn't use it again! I was also slightly worried that if a horse played about it could get a leg through the front rein ...………………...……….
 

Minny

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Thought I would return to an old thread I started, with an update. I did not invest in an equiami or Pessoa. I did however start lunging in his bridle on a small circle with nose tipped to the inside, only walking to begin with. Slowly but surely he started to choose to work long and low, just a few strides each circle, then more and more, the pony started to learn self carriage and how to stretch over his back whilst carrying himself. The secret was to always encourage the stretch and go at his pace rather than mine. A few months later and he can walk, trot, canter and counter canter in a frame without leaning or being supported by me. I never thought this was achievable. It helps that I met a trainer who did not believe in forcing a frame and showed me how to work a tense pony on the ground and back up the groundwork in the saddle. It has been an education and a revelation for me and the pony.
 
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