June 21, 2012
The first time I heard the term "equilates," I thought it might be Pilates for horses. In fact, it is Pilates developed specifically for those who ride horses.
It seems a couple of people claim to have coined the term and developed the system, but dressage champion, Betsy Steiner, has trademarked the term. Her website, Equilates, describes the method as:
"...the sport-specific training method developed by Betsy Steiner using the basic premises of Pilates: promoting elongation of the spine, muscular flexibility and balance, strengthening the core resulting in the relaxed concentration and flow needed to create the partnership between horse and rider.
In addition, Equilates focuses on the mind/body connection using Pilates principles and incorporating Yoga, elements of T’ai Chi and the practice of visualization."
The exercises seem very similar to regular Pilates but the emphasis is placed on exercises that can improve your posture, relaxation, and control on horseback.
A short explanation of this is provided by Rachel Faulkner in the video below. She also provides a series of Equilates videos on her YouTube channel.
Whether or not you compete or ride dressage, you may find that Equilates helps to make you a better and more comfortable rider.