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Top 10 benefits of horse stretching

June 9, 2020 Chris Price

Horse stretching is a vital part of caring for your horse and can sometimes be overlooked, even though it offers fantastic benefits, such as flexibility and suppleness that can help remarkably improve your horse’s health.  The benefits of stretching over time can lead to; improved muscle growth and tone, a wider range of motion in joints plus quicker recovery post-exercise.  According to Equisearch holding a stretch for 30 seconds can help restart the bodies remodelling process. Well worth the investment each day.

Horse Stretching 1

Horse’s need stretching out just as often as their human does. Post-ride or during a cool down is the perfect time to incorporate some stretching technique’s as the horse’s muscles and tendons will already be warm and less likely to stress anything too far.

There are many benefits to stretching your horse: 

  • Increased circulation 
  • Increased relaxation 
  • Increasing muscle length and elasticity 
  • Maintaining overall muscle health 
  • Increased range of motion 
  • Enables your horse to perform more fluidly and to the best of its ability 
  • Reduces post-exercise soreness, stiffness and muscle fatigue 
  • Helps you to bond with your horse 
  • Builds trust with your horse 
  • Time to give your horse a check over for lumps and bruising 
  • Help to identify early warning signs of a potential injury 
  • Can aid injury rehabilitation 

A couple of easy stretches to try with your horse:

Safety first! We would recommend wearing a hat when performing these stretches. 

Please also contact your vet before completing any stretches if your horse has any ligament scar tissue or torn muscles as sometimes stretching can worsen any previous injuries. 

Before beginning a stretch, ensure your horse is stood in an area with good, level footing and ask him to stand squarely. 

 

Horse Stretching 2

Shoulder stretch 

This stretch will help the shoulder, elbow and carpal. Please be aware that this stretch is not recommended for horses that have had lower limb ligament injuries.

  1. Stand beside your horse 
  2. Lift either leg, place one hand behind his knee and support his toe with your other hand. 
  3. Pull the leg forward until fully extended. 
  4. Continue holding the extended leg until your horse leans into the stretch
  5. Support your back by resting your elbows on your knees.
  6. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds

 

Horse Stretching 3

The lateral flexor 

This stretch is good for stretching the neck and if your horse shows weakness in their turns.

  1. Make sure you have a carrot or treat to hand
  2. Stand at your horses’ shoulder and take a step back 
  3. Persuade his nose round to his abdomen with the treat
  4. If you find your horse starts to turn in a circle doing this stretch, use a wall to support the side opposite to you
  5. Continuing to do this stretch over time may help your horse to eventually reach his hip

 

Lateral Flexor

The neck extensor 

This stretch will help to stretch the top of the neck from the poll to the withers.

  1. Make sure you have a carrot or treat to hand
  2. Hold the treat between your horse’s front hooves
  3. Move the treat up and in between your horse’s knees
  4. Use the treat to persuade his nose to his chest

 

eck

Forelimb stretch

This stretch will help soften your horses’ shoulder and elbow. This is also a great stretch to do to unfold skin that may have been pinched under the girth.

  1. Face your horse
  2. Lift either front leg
  3. Place both hands behind the knee, hold the cannon bone against your thigh and slowly begin to pull your horse’s leg upward and forward

 

Forelimb Stretch

 

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