Follow Our Blog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Equicizer for English Disciplines

The Equicizer is a fantastic tool for English riders with benefits for competitors in disciplines such as dressage, show jumping, cross country, and pleasure. The time you spend riding your Equicizer will give you a chance to improve your seat and leg position. You can practice your two point stance and work on your lower leg without ever getting in your horse’s way! Similarly, you can perfect your reining skills by working on your elbows and hand position without affecting your horse’s mouth. The Equicizer provides an amazing environment for training your body to ride effectively.

The Equicizer can be ridden for an extended period of time in front of a mirror or an instructor (or both!) while you work on your weak areas. The benefit of this is that you are not trying to improve yourself while simultaneously teaching your equine partner. You can do one at a time and get the maximum benefit out of each workout. If you are trying to improve your overall fitness for grueling competitions like three-day eventing, hop on the Equicizer for a workout morning, noon, and night! He will never tire and you are not risking injury because you can never overwork this wooden horse! Many Equicizers have gone well over two decades before needing a any of the few replacement parts that may ever need replacing. On the other hand, if it is you finding yourself on “stall rest”, the Equicizer is a great tool to get you back in action as you rehab.

Every competitor knows that taking periodic breaks from riding for any reason can put a damper on your show season. Whether it be due to severe weather or your horse being injured, not being able to get time in the arena feels inevitable at times. Not true if you have an Equicizer in your barn or home because they are ready to go in any weather and at any time of the year! Go ahead and give your jumper a few days off after that big show and you can keep working with your Equicizer.

One notable English rider that has recognized the benefits of the Equicizer is Jane Savoie. Jane is a very recognizable name in the dressage community and has competed on the United States Equestrian team. Another Equicizer fan from the dressage arena is Ruth Hogan Poulsen, who is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist and Freestyle Gold Bar Award-Winner. Ruth has her own Equicizer named Rocky and has made a name for herself with her unique approach to “difficult” horses. She has said of the Equicizer, “The design and the mechanical way the Equicizer works is amazing, I do not know how Frankie did it. My Equicizer ‘Rocky’ has become the best and most reliable lesson horse in my barn.” 
Ruth and a student demonstrating on the Equicizer.
For breed show competitors who do English Pleasure, HUS, and Equitation classes, the Equicizer allows a rider to perfect the way they ride the canter. You have to identify and correct common problems like leaning by making slighting changes in your position and posture until you are riding correct and consistent. Your instructor can manually maneuver you to show where your form is off, whereas if you were riding your equine teammate, she wouldn’t be able to assist you as you cantered around. You are not as concerned with steering or training the horse underneath you, but rather can focus entirely on how your riding can be more effective.

Stay tuned next week for a Celebrity Blog Post from one of our favorite English Equicizer riders, paralympian Sydney Collier. She is one of the leading paralympic dressage riders in North America! 

By Amanda Chicotel

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Equicizer for Western Disciplines

The Equicizer is widely useful for training across the entire scope of western disciplines. From roping to barrel racing, the Equicizer provides an opportunity to learn new skills, practice difficult movements, and of course develop and maintain the exceptional level of fitness required by Western events. Riders and trainers such as Steve Lantvit, Ed Dabney, Craig Cameron, Stacy Westfall, and Tommy Garland all use and love the Equicizer.

One notable way the Equicizer is useful to western riders is the equivalent to how it is useful to riders of every discipline. The Equicizer can be ridden any time of day as it works with your schedule; it can be ridden inside where extreme cold or heat is insignificant; and it can be ridden for unlimited hours each day by riders of any skill level. There is no boundary to the benefits the Equicizer can provide at a training facility or in an individual’s home. If, God forbid, your horse becomes injured and needs time off, you can stay in optimum shape by riding out their stall rest on an Equicizer. Western riders can use the Equicizer to develop a strong core seat along with softer hands and back.

For pleasure and horsemanship competitors, the Equicizer allows a rider to perfect the way they ride the lope. You have the chance to make tweaks in your position and posture while building strength and stamina. The instructor can critique your position and even manually maneuver you to show where your form is off (for example- leaning too far left or right). You don’t have to be preoccupied with steering or training the horse underneath you, but rather can focus entirely on how your riding can be more effective.

Perhaps one of the most exciting Western disciplines to practice on the Equicizer is roping! Roping is a difficult task to do with both feet firmly planted on the ground let alone while riding and controlling a running horse! The Equicizer provides an intermediate situation where one can practice their roping skills while incorporating the movement of a horse yet not having to worry about where that horse’s feet are taking you. Similarly, mounted shooting is another discipline that requires a lot of skill practice that you might want to do without a live horse for a while before mixing in the steering and reactions that come with riding. If you are new to mounted shooting, you can use the Equicizer to perfect your position and technique while mounted, then move up to adding in motion, and eventually you will be ready to do it with your equine partner.

Riders of other disciplines, such as barrel racing, western pleasure, and western riding, will find that riding the Equicizer regularly will dramatically improve their seat and overall fitness level. By using the Equicizer as a complementary tool to their riding regimen, riders will find themselves reaching new levels in what seems like no time. This tool create a whole new dynamic between trainer and rider during lessons where the trainer has the opportunity to really see you from all sides and help you to be the most effective rider you can be.

Are you a Western Rider who has benefited from the Equicizer? We would love to hear from you about your experience in the comments below or at

By Amanda Chicotel

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Equicizer for Jockeys

If you were reading along with us for Kayla’s “How the Equicizer Was Born” installments, you remember that Wooden Horse Corporation is the result of one jockey’s dream to get back to the races. The Equicizer was originally created by Frank Lovato, Jr. with the purpose of getting fit enough to race again as his body healed from a life-threatening injury sustained on the racetrack. It is an ideal tool for jockeys and exercise riders to learn on, use to develop skills and balance, and to get to and maintain the level of fitness required to be a professional athlete.

Matching Strides

On the Equicizer, an aspiring jockey or exercise rider can learn many of the skills they need to know for racing in a safe, controlled environment before trying them out on a Thoroughbred traveling at 40mph. For riders recovering from injuries, the Equicizer can be used long before a doctor will give clearance to ride a real horse. It helps to build strength back up while improving flexibility, core strength, and skills. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than most of the things you will find in a typical physical therapy room.

Another one of the many ways the Equiczer can be beneficial to jockeys and exercise riders is that it can be ridden for an extended period of time without ever tiring. There are Equicizers out there that have been ridden for long, hard hours every day for 20 years on end without tiring! You can only spend so much time in a day galloping real horses to develop your muscles and skills. With the Equicizer, you can ride before sunup, during the day, before bed, or even in the middle of the night! You can practice riding races in the safety of your home or training center no matter the weather, ground conditions, or whether or not there is a even a horse available. The Equicizer allows students and riders to stay in peak shape year round because they are never limited by outside factors beyond their own will power.

Jockey Josh Molitor, 19, trains on an Equicizer, which moves like a horse and helps jockeys perfect their style. Riding for even a minute is hard work, he said.
Jockey Josh Molitor at Arlington Park in 2011

Because the creator of the Equicizer was a professional jockey for 25 years, you could say he and the company are well acquainted with the needs of jockeys as far as training and exercise. Frankie created a wooden mechanical horse to assist in his own rehab and the horse became became so much more in the racing world (and the rest of the equestrian world). You can find Equicizers in hundreds of jockey rooms, training centers, and tracks around the world including at Churchill Downs and the North American Racing Academy in Kentucky.

Mario Guitierrez, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, warming up on the Equicizer in 2012.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, a Champion Jockey in Canada and Eclipse Award-winning apprentice once said of the Equicizer, “This is probably the most important tool that a young, developing rider should have in their home. Not only does it mimic the horse’s action so realistically, it can be ridden all afternoon and the Equicizer never gets tired!” In 2013, Gary Stevens warmed up prior to his win aboard Oxbow. The Equicizer’s reputation in the racing community speaks for itself!

Gary Stevens

By Amanda Chicotel

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Equicizer for Therapeutic Riding

        When the Equicizer was created, it was because jockey Frankie Lovato, Jr had been faced with a physical therapy room that offered very little in the way of helping him return to peak performance condition. Many riders who have been injured can relate to asking not if they will return, but how soon? While many other wonderful uses for it have come to light, we are proud to say the Equicizer is still widely used for its original purpose of therapy and rehabilitation! Over the last 25 years, it has become an integral part of many Equine Assisted Therapy Activities/Therapies (EAAT),  therapeutic riding, and hippotherapy centers worldwide.
Horses Healing Humans, Inc
The Equicizer is a fun and alternative way to facilitate therapeutic exercises for children and adults and has helped improve the lives of those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges. It has proven to be beneficial for individuals with conditions and challenges such as arthritis, cerebral palsy, emotional/learning disabilities, paralysis, amputation, Down Syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, autism, educational and training disabilities, head trauma, muscular dystrophy, and for those recovering from strokes.
Borrowed Freedom EAAT
As a therapeutic tool, the Equicizer can be used in private homes, therapy centers, recreation facilities, and therapeutic riding programs. The Equicizer has a warm and lifelike appearance but is built with sturdy construction to be reliable and stand up to daily use. It is not uncommon for children who are scared by the movements, smell, or height of horses to find a comfort zone with the Equicizer and sometimes even go on to ride ‘real’ horses as a result of the bond they develop with the mechanical horse. We have also heard of great emotional benefits the Equicizer can provide for those with emotional delays or disabilities. Kids will pet, groom, and love on the Equicizer just like they do with the rest of the barn animals.
KidspOT Occupational Therapy Services
One of the primary benefits of using an Equicizer in a therapeutic riding program is that it allows for exercises beyond the scope of ‘normal’ horseback riding. Riders can stretch, strengthen, and balance in different poses while riding the horse but not having to steer or fear the horse reacting to stimuli. Riders can ride backwards, sideways, double, or lean forward and back without affecting the horse at all. They have the opportunity to create the motion of the ride on their own or a handler can stand beside the rider and generate the motion for them. Many therapeutic riding students feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment when they are able to graduate from the former to the latter. Similarly, gradually being able to work the Equicizer up into a canter and sustaining that gait provides a great sense of personal triumph.
Side Stretch
A very popular use for the Equicizer in therapeutic riding programs is for evaluation and teaching purposes. It is a safe and controlled way to introduce students to something like the mounting process. They can practice getting on and off as many times as it takes to make them comfortable with the action without any unnecessary strain on a horse’s back. The Equicizer is also a good training tool to use with handlers, walkers, and therapists as they learn the appropriate way to assist people of different skill levels during a riding session or lesson. It can allow time for handlers and/or walkers to become familiar with a rider and the rider with them.
Heather Sansom
The Equicizer is equal parts a fun and advantageous addition to any therapy, hippotherapy, and/or EAAT program. It can also be used in the home to supplement Please check out the reference guide on our website as well as the wealth of ideas for stretches and exercises to do with the Equicizer (developed by fitness expert, Heather Sansom). Also, PATH International is a great starting point if you are looking for accredited therapeutic riding centers in your area.

By Amanda Chicotel