Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Central Oregon, USA
I used to strap my eventing horse after almost every ride in the winter. I do not think it built muscle, can't for sure say if it defined them either. But it sure as heck made him shiny (well, as shiny as you can get a grey, lol). I am pretty confident it was the strapping that helped in this regard. I had him 3 years before he was laid to rest, the first winter I had him, I did not bang or strap him. The next two I did. His feed did not change, his living environment stayed the same et cetra, et cetra. So I do think that it has benefits to the skin and subcutaneous system of the horse.
Additionally, he LOVED it! Perhaps it is more similar to a massage than sit ups. As long as the horse likes it, and the owner is doing it responsibly, I see no harm. Even if it isn't turning your horse into the next Arnold, there are still some benefits to it.
As for the routine:
Pre ride grooming with a rubber curry, stiff brush, and body brush.
Post ride grooming: stiff brush, body brush, then I used a linen type of towel or tea towel to rub him down, folded it up, and banged. Followed by one more once-over with the body brush.