Equine Stretching Exercises

Equine Stretching Exercises

How do Equine Stretching Exercises benefit your horse?

  • Utilise natural movement to help increase your horse’s flexibility
  • Improve balance
  • Help with core strength
  • Can be a training tool on the ground to help bond with your horse and develop trust.

What types of stretching are there?

There are 3 types of stretch to do with your horse:

  1. Flexion (rounding of the neck)
  2. Extension (hollowing of the neck)
  3. Lateral (side to side bending of the neck in both directions)

The aim is to get your horse to stretch voluntarily and gradually, taking each vertebra through a complete range of motion. An incentive (a special treat or other similar things) is used to encourage them. Never force your horse into movement as it can lead to injury.

Stretching Technique

  1.  Your horse should be standing squarely and balanced on level ground. Being relaxed and calm is also important. An anxious horse may over-extend and injure themselves
  2. Repeat each stretch 3-5 times. Between stretches, allow some time for the horse to relax its muscles. For lateral bending stretches, repeat each an even number of times.

Lateral Bending Exercises:
Standing near the shoulder of your horse, use the treat to encourage the horse to stretch around your body toward the girth. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Some horses will take time to adjust to these stretches so start with short periods of time and increase as your horse becomes comfortable.

Rounding Exercises:
Stand at your horse’s girth area, facing the same direction as your horse. Using your treat as incentive ask your horse to stretch down to the level of their knee. Your horse should bend evenly throughout their back and neck. Your horse’s head should be kept level and their back rounded. When your horse is first learning this stretch aim to hold it for 10 seconds and increase the time as your horse becomes comfortable. When your horse is confident with this stretch you can increase the stretch to between the fetlocks. This stretch may require some horses to bend their knees.

The below video shows different stretches you can attempt with your horses. Start off slowly and for short periods of time and increase over a few days.

 

From the team at East Coast Horse Transport, we hope you enjoyed reading and watching. If you ever have queries  about horse transport, we are the people to speak to. Contact us now using our contact form, our Facebook page or by phone.

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