Thursday, July 30, 2015

First Faux EquiCube Ride

"Momma, why are you here? Is it to hose me off? I'm so warm."
When it gets to be 90 degrees +, Mikey sweats something fierce, this was BEFORE we rode. :-(

So yesterday I ended up riding even though I didn't think I would. The temperatures really aren't supposed to drop all that much this week and I needed to get riding again before the weekend, since I won't be around to ride. My trainer also called to ask if I was riding last night, and if so, could I turn out the horses when I was done. She needed to go teach at another farm in the evening and it was just too hot to put the horses out when she needed to leave. I really needed to get Mikey working again since he's been on vacation since the show, I like helping and it's a "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" type deal. So off to the barn I went!

Mikey was ridiculously sweaty when I pulled him out of his stall. Brushing him was a fail because I actually made him foam from bushing him. He just melts on days like today. It's a big reason I often don't ride him when it's this hot. My trainer has pulled him out on days like this and just hosed him down to try to make him more comfortable. I swear he smiled when I hosed him down after our ride.

I didn't even bother putting on my tall boots, it was too hot. I usually wear FITS all weather full seat breeches with deerskin patches, but it was too hot today so I was wearing my new pair of full seat FITS tights. I usually wear those on days I'm going to work and ride to try and save wear and tear on the deerskin.

I took my cube down to the outdoor to practice with. I figured I could walk around for a while and that'd be hard for me, easy for Mikey.

My homemade cube. It is a bit wider than the real cube, and a hair heavier.
This is the real cube.
If you want an ab-master, make or buy a cube. I am strong in my core. I had a gym membership a couple years ago, and it came with a free personal training session to learn how to set and use the machines. When it came to leg and core machines, the trainer was like, "I don't know what to do with you. I've only had a couple women be this strong." The cube whipped my abs and back muscles.

Walking over up and down terrain to the outdoor holding that damn cube was a pain in my back. Literally. The muscles next to my spine were screaming bloody murder. My chiropractor had told me several years ago that I ended up with so much back pain in those muscles because they weren't balanced with my ab muscles. They were too weak. Well holy piss, I wanted to die. So naturally, I kept going.

I had a lot of trouble connecting Mikey to the bridle. I had my reins a bit longer than I should have, thinking I'd ask him for long and low. I definitely was sitting straighter, taller, and was finding my seatbones with ease. I think Mikey was surprised by the amount of seat contact, and it was a lot for him, so he inverted instead of looking for the bridle. I pushed for a lot more walk with my leg (another thing was it quieted an overactive seat in walk), and he finally connected a little. I think if I had gone around and warmed up a little without it, Mikey would have been a bit better prepared for such a deep contact.

I asked for trot, and I had no problem sitting the trot (it was easy with the cube!) until I got tired. I do like the cube for posting trot. I have trouble finding that deep sitting position in the sit part of the posting trot, and with the cube I didn't have a choice. It was there.

Picture of the sand bag weight in my cube.

I also found I couldn't hold my hands forward like I wanted to- it was too hard to hold up the cube because at that point I had to hold it up with my arms. Since I couldn't do that, I had trouble following Mikey's movements with my elbows. That was a big problem at the show- coming down from medium/extended canters to collected canter, I'd lock my elbows and force Mikey to either invert or plow through. I also couldn't flex him right to counteract our tendency to connect to the left rein both directions. I'd check my rein length to make sure they were even, but still had trouble getting an even connection. It was still better than it was a couple months ago, and I think with some ground eyes it wouldn't have been a problem. These are the only meh parts I have about using the cube.

Trot shoulder in to renvers to shoulder in worked out very well with the cube once I had Mikey more through in the trot. He never thought about fighting me or inverting or changing tempo. I did find he drifted a bit to the left, and I had a hard time correcting it because I was getting tired. The canter was incredible. I found myself using my seat more, and he'd connect much faster and truer.

I found myself lowering my hands a bunch of times (bumped the cube into Mikey's neck, sorry Mikey!) and I found myself trying to widen them too to get what I wanted. I had to keep them still.

I did take away the cube to finish up because I was getting frustrated and Mikey was definitely getting sensitive.

What a difference! Hands up and together, I was able to follow with my elbows without the weight. I wish I had had my tall boots and my whip, Mikey was a bit tired by then and I needed to give him a couple taps on the left hip. I think my hands actually got too high. They definitely didn't want to drop down anymore.

By the time I got back to the barn, Mikey and I were both exhausted. It was still 90 degrees or so out, he did some good work over his back after I figured myself out, and my abs and back were killing me.

I have a lesson tonight in a couple hours, and we'll cube it again.

Cube Verdict: We'll see. It'll definitely up my back and core strength, and get my hands back up and together and get me to stop dropping my hands to get what I want. I'll feel better after a lesson with it with Trainer checking me from the ground. I may see about having husband made it narrower. He said he could do it, but wanted me to give it a try first.

If you're interested in buying the Equicube, it's $80 plus $15 shipping. Or you can make the one my husband made with this material list. Husband spent about $20, but he already had some of the more expensive materials. It's around $38 if you have to start from scratch. If anyone wants to make it, let me know and I'll add some notes about how my husband put it together (just some tips he had for making one).


  1. Oh my. That sounds like horrible, horrible torture that I really need to try out.

    1. Hahahaha! Torture pays off.

      I posted the real cube to my trainer's Facebook last week and said the barn should invest in one (everyone who'd use it chips in like a $1 per ride to cut down the cost per person), and everyone was like, "Gee thanks Jan, you're giving her another torture device! But I think I should use it too, and I might be a significant contributor to the purchase price." For now, we're just going to share mine!

  2. Interesting!! Sounds like a serious work out but also a really great eye opener. I've been really interested in the cube but this is the most detail I've read so far. Will definitely be curious to hear your thoughts as you use it more. And also if you feel like it I would def like to see the how-to manual on making it

  3. My trainer just sent me the link to the Cube. Without comment. I'm assuming that means "buy this." Anyway, aside from the fact that it seems like a lot to pay 80 bucks for a piece of rubber, is it possible to adjust the weight on the homemade version or do you have to permanently seal it up? I'm old and broken, so it might be better to start out lighter and work my way up to 4#. Even better, how much would your hubby charge to put one together for me? :-) I'm handy, but there's usually one thing I run into on every project that trips me up and causes panic and much swearing.

  4. I'm going to make one! Thanks for sharing yours! Any additional notes that are not pictured?

    1. Thank you so much for showing the materials needed and directions to make a cube but I can't read it. Any chance you might type it out? Thank you!!!!