Derby

Derby college offers equine exercise workshops

A Derby college is offering a new twist in its search for ways to improve equine health.

Horse owners are being offered classes in equine pilates to help them improve the condition of their animals.

Pilates is a form of human exercise used worldwide, but offering it to horses is a new development, veterinary physiotherapist Hannah Haskew said.

"It is quite new really - the idea is to take the principles of pilates and apply them to your horse," she said.

'Core muscles'

In some exercises, a carrot is held against the horse's chest to entice it to bend its head downwards.

"By strengthening the core muscles you can get better performance in your horse, better flexibility and better competition results.

"It can also help with rehabilitation of back problems and help to reduce the incidence of back problems in horses," Ms Haskew said.

Fell pony owner Sue Oliver said: "I am hoping to get him to stretch more and hopefully do competitions a lot better."

Another horse owner Pat Boddy said: "Poppy is 18 now and I hope the pilates will make her a bit more suppleā€¦ she is not as supple as she used to be."

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