Equility is a sport that is performed in symbiosis with a horse. It represents and ensures a better understanding of the horse itself, which is essential for achieving better results in other equestrian disciplines. Exercises are performed alongside the horse, not on it.
For many years, at the Kaja and Grom Ranch, we have nurtured a special approach to horses by working or playing on the ground. We called it Equility and in 2012 we established the Equility Centre.
The Equility Centre Slovenia was established to promote and spread a new approach and view of the horse as a living being that thinks and feels, and has an individual personality, character, and mental and intellectual abilities.
Our centre aims to spread this activity and to bring together all people who choose to do this form of horse companionship.
The activities that the Equility Centre Slovenia disseminates are mainly experiences and relationships that occur between people and horses. These activities allow for a better understanding between a human and a horse and promote respect, trust, and cooperation. Equility is a specific discipline that is recommended everywhere, as it presents and ensures a better understanding of the horse itself, which is a necessity for achieving better results in other equestrian disciplines. Equility is accessible to everyone, young and adult, beginners and experienced riders, as well as those who have never ridden before, as the exercises are carried out alongside the horse, not on it.
Equility is a fun sport consisting of various exercises performed by horses on the instructions of their handlers. They guide their horses by voice commands and body language, never by whip or other coercive means. Equility not only shows the intelligence of the horse, but also the selfless bond with its handler. Tasks are performed in a playful atmosphere, in an atmosphere of emotional connection between horse and handler and in mutual satisfaction.
Equility offers benefits for both horse and human.
It is suitable for all horses, regardless of their predisposition, age, and physical ability. If the exercises are carried out correctly, the horse connects with his handler through Equility, starts to trust them more, and starts to discover the possibilities of communication.
It is suitable for horses that have no sporting predisposition, for horses that have physical limitations, and for horses that have worked enough in their lives to be able to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.
Many horses want human companionship and become sad when deprived of it (as often inevitably happens when a horse is retired or can no longer be ridden due to a physical handicap). For these horses, Equility can brighten their days and give them those special moments with an owner or handler that they need.
For humans, Equility can offer in-depth knowledge of the ethology and psychology of horses, the attachment of the horse to its handler, and mutual understanding. Equility is very suitable and even important for beginners as it gives them a deeper insight into the horse’s behavior, which leads to greater confidence. Even people who already have experience with horses can gain new and interesting information about their horse, its nature, and understanding through ground play. The positive aspects of Equility are particularly evident in children and adolescents, as it not only affects their understanding of horse language and communication but also their confidence, self-esteem, success, adaptability, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership skills.
The main aim of Equility is to emphasize the connection and communication between the horse and its friend (handler). This connection is seen and expressed in the active and voluntary work of the horse, which is attentive to the handler’s commands and carries them out in a relaxed and harmonious way. Horse and handler should work as good friends and a good team, not in a subordinate-superior relationship. Equility allows the horse to acquire a different status, because it is here that its intelligence and sensitivity are fully expressed, and therefore it does not just act as a sporting machine, as it often occurs in other equestrian competitions.
The brilliant performance of Equility requires a well-trained horse and a handler who understands the horse’s language, habits, and character.
There are 4 levels of Equility.
In the first level, the horse wears a halter on its head and the handler, who walks alongside the horse, can use a halter to help him. The tasks to be performed are: forward, stand, backing, turn on, wait, slalom, maze, and crossing the fence.
In the second level, the horse has a halter on his head and the handler can help himself with the lead rope and still walk alongside the horse. The following tasks are added to those in the first level: jump, curtain, bridge, passage through the ring, and lift to the platform.
In the third level, all the elements from the first and second levels are performed, except that the horse is not wearing a halter or the handler is not holding the lead rope but is still standing or walking beside the horse.
In the fourth level, all the following elements are performed: forward, stand, dismount, turn on the forehand, wait, slalom, maze, crossing the stirrup, jumping over the stirrup, bridge, passing through the ring, and mounting the platform. However, the horse performs these elements only under the instructions of the handler, who stands in the middle of the ground or at a certain point and does not physically accompany the horse.
The most important thing in Equility is that the horse follows the handler without coercion, is interested, and relaxed.