Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's Flex

Whether your horse is a competition horse or a trail horse, nothing will benefit them quite like a good stretching exercise. We know how good we feel after a good stretch, well our horses feel the same!

Stretching their necks and bodies before and after a ride or activity will help make and maintain a nice supple horse. When riding do circles and encourage your horse to stretch down almost to a peanut pushing status... if your horse is dropping his head then he WANTS to stretch and it is totally encouraged until you're ready for work... Circles and figure eights with a horse stretching his head down will stretch ALL the muscles of his top line. From Poll to Dock and everything in between.
When you're done riding or exercising, then use treats for stretching their neck and sides. Get the horse to follow that treat around as far as they can, BUT NEVER FORCE your horse's head or leg, or ANY body part around for a stretch!! The more you do this the more supple and comfortable your horse will become. You can put a treat or carrot just about anywhere and you're horse will most likely stretch to get it.

A nice supple, round horse will appear pleasant in the show ring, be pleasant to ride and will never appear stiff or uncomfortable. I even know people (myself included) That will sometimes get their horses adjusted using acupressure and then you keep up on it by stretching them out everyday!! It's the little things we may overlook that can help your horse immensely in the long run!!


SimplyRenegade said...

I agree with flexion and stretches being a good thing! When I first got my gelding (R.I.P Renny) I didn't even think of stretches for him. A friend of mine showed me what to do, within weeks I started noticing big differences in his motion and how he carried himself. Mr cranky at a jog all of a sudden slipped right into western jog gear like a well oiled machine. Stretching is goodness!

kestrel said...

Also, using treats to encourage stretching links stretching to goodness in your horse's mind. They will start telling you where they're stiff. Massage works great, too. I have an old guy who will move under my raised hands to the part he wants worked on, and if I don't get it he'll point his nose at the spot! To me it seems like horses appreciate efforts to keep them comfortable and will give you more in return.

GoLightly said...

Why do I want to hum David Bowie's "Let's Dance"?

Great Post!

Put on your red shoes, and dance the blues...

Oh, I need a nap!

great points, kestrel & Simply, too!

They can't be athletes without assistance.
Stretches help them to understand "straight" a lot better,too.

GoLightly said...

Okay, TrexX, I don't think I've ever asked YoU this question.
cough, cough, ahem, ahem.

The first horse is stretching, yes?
Stretching low, loosening his back muscles.
OMG, I just had an epiphany.
gawd, I'm slow today.
here it is, pardon the duh moment for me.
Do you think that a level neck CAN denote the way the horses themselves can comfortably carry themselves? Because they are BUILT that way?
My Leo Bear! Natural level neck head carriage, he "could" raise it, and did, but it was hard for him.
Now, I get it.
I really think I got it!!

TrainerX, you are a genius.

Oh, the question?
Why are WP heads so low.
Darn it, I think I did ask you this ?
told ya I was slow today..

paul_linn_is_a_jerk said...

LOL ITA - my boy does much better in the arena and on the trail after stretching. I taught him to 'touch his side' for a treat and now he touches both sides all the time when I am grooming expecting a treat. He even tries to touch his tail when I am combing out the knots.

Haldis said...

Hello Trainer X:
Me being long time reader, first time poster. You would have a lot more credibility if your command of the english language were as absolute as your idol Ms. FUGLY. Ya know, such things as grammar, spelling, punctuation. Be that as it may, I do agree with an awful lot of your postings. I think your philosophies are sound.
JMHO. Take it as you will.
Anyways.... I wanted to respond to your posting about not knowing where your horse came from... As I'm sure you, with your wealth of training experience know, background info from humans is so limiting. Either you get info from people who don't know the horse,or those who do or represent themselves as all-knowing about the animal. As a trainer you must know not to rely upon the humans reporting about the animal coming to you for training. The bottom line is ALWAYS what the animal tells you about his/her previous handling and training.

Just a little nugget that you obviously forgot to include in your posting.


Oh, In case you're wondering... just pre-empting the thank you that is sure to be forthcoming from you because of your oversight of that most obvious point.


Trainer X said...

Haldis I LOVE opinions!! And appreciate them...However...
#1 Fugly is not my idol. I am a horse trainer, she is bad ass horse woman.
#2 What I want to know about a horse through papers and talking to people, is health, previous training and their experience with the horse. Everything else as far as training goes is between me and the horse.
# 3 I'll email you all my posts so you can proof read them

So yes, THANK YOU!!

GoLightly said...

TrexX, my cousin, the bestest trainer I know, can barely compose a sentence on the computer. She rocks. So does you.
She e-mails me only when her mom visits. She's a horse trainer. She communicates very very well, in person.

Heck, I understand ya!

Honest opinions about a horse are so hard to find, if you can get one, you listen. Depends on the source of the opinion..


I would appreciate paragraphs, and NOT A BLACK background. I hate those, my eyes complain.
I'm not complaining, my EYES are:):):)