Wednesday, February 11, 2009
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!!