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Core Conditioning for Horses by Visconte Simon Cocozza


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  • Core Conditioning for Horses by Visconte Simon Cocozza

    Price as reviewed:

    £24.95 for hardcover

    Core Conditioning for Horses: Yoga-Inspired Warm-Up Techniques: Increase Suppleness, Improve Bend, and Unlock Optimal Movement

    Author: Visconte Simon Cocozza
    Published: 2019
    Available as hardcover or Kindle edition

    View now at amazon.co.uk

    About the book

    The majority of us who are involved with horses would agree with the author Visconte Simon Cocozza that the fact horses allow us to sit on their backs and influence their behaviour as they do is “an incredible privilege”. The lucky ones among us will have enjoyed rides where we have felt so in tune with our horses that it feels like they have read our minds and we have “danced”, whether that is in the arena, at a competition, or while enjoying a ride in the countryside. But, for most of us, these experiences are few and far between, so what separates those incredible rides from the rest? The author believes it’s all about the horse’s “posture in motion” and that this is something every owner can help their horses improve.

    Review

    In summary, this book is designed to help the reader help their horse to improve their core strength through a series of yoga-style exercises designed to condition the key carrying muscles that enable to horse to move fluidly and in balance while carrying the rider.

    The book is in two parts. The first section explains how the horse’s core muscles work and includes advice to help the owner/rider analyse their own horse so they can apply a score to their personal strengths and weaknesses. This provides a starting point for the training process and can be used ongoing to monitor progress. Photographs, examples of the horse in art, quotes from both equestrian old masters and experts of the current day, and illustrations are all used to help convey the message.

    The second part covers the three exercise levels and the head-and-neck positions that can be used, before explaining the 10 exercises designed to improve the horse’s core condition. These exercises can be combined in various ways to either be used on their own as part of rehab programme for a horse with a back problem, such as kissing spines, or to form a warm-up for a healthy horse that activates the horse’s important core muscles so they are ready to undertake more demanding exercises. The book also explains how to judge which are best suited to your horse at their current stage of their training.

    I found the book easy to read with excellent use of photography and illustrations to show how the exercises for our horses should be performed and how they compare to human yoga poses. While I don’t do yoga myself, I did find these comparisons useful, so don’t feel this book is only suitable if you are a yoga aficionado. If you are looking to use this book to solve a specific problem, it is tempting to dive straight into the second part of the book, but I would encourage everyone to take the time to read the first section as it helps build your understanding of how the horse’s core works, as well as how to assess your own horse, which will stand you in good stead for the future.

    About the author

    Visconte Simon Cocozza’s spent his childhood in Rome, Italy, but he was educated in England, took his BHS exams and studied equine business management at Warwickshire College. He initially worked as a trainer in the UK, before returning to mainland Europe, where he studied with a number of mentors and became driven to discover the unifying principles behind Greek, Roman and the Renaissance Schools to find ways of helping each and every horse be as healthy, happy and useful as they can be. While based in France, he became the first non-French national to earn the Brevet Professionnel and become a trainer and examiner for the La Fédération Française d’Equitation (FFE). He is currently based in Wiltshire, England, where he hosts residential Core Conditioning for Horses training courses, as well as coaching bio-mechanically sound training techniques internationally.

    Verdict

    Whether you have a horse that is tense, stiff or has been diagnosed with a back problem, or you simply want to expand your knowledge of your horse’s anatomy and add fresh training methods to your toolkit, this book is worth every penny. I think it should be on every horse owner’s book shelf or kindle.

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