Credit: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Wednesday 26 October - 17h36 | Théo Caviezel
Stretching is indispensable for all athletes, including horses in the equestrian world. Easy to do as long as certain rules are respected, stretching is highly beneficial before riding your horse, and the horse will be more responsive and reliable as a result.
Credit : A forward stretch for the front leg Credit: C.Rotty
The following stretches are recommended on a daily basis, including after a workout to aid muscle recovery. They are mainly aimed at stretching muscles to increase a horse’s range of motion. The exercises are done gently, following the horse’s lead, and the return motion is also accompanied gently and slowly.1. Flexion or bending of the neckTo stretch your horse’s neck muscles, coax the horse’s head toward his shoulders with a sweet. Do this on both sides. As the days pass, you can move the candy further and further away: on the rib cage, then on the flanks, leaving your horse time to understand the exercise. You can also slip him a treat through the front legs to lower the whole neck and extend the back.2. Stretching the forelegsTake the front leg of your horse as if you were going to scrape his hoof, then take the hoof and move it very gently back and forth, until the leg is fully stretched. Let go gently once the gesture is completed. If the horse resists, stop the stretch. For stretching toward the back, follow the same procedure but extend the limb gradually down and to the rear until fully stretched. The limb should be tight and close to the ground. This is the best position for the horse to relax.
Credit : Credit: Anatomy of the Equine
3. Stretching the horse’s hind legsHold the canon bone area just above the fetlock joint of the horse and slowly bring the hind leg forward and down. For a backward stretch, follow the same procedure and slowly guide the back leg backward and down.
Be careful around a horse's hind legs Credit: J. Lemignon
Your turnThese three types of stretches will undoubtedly improve your riding experience with your horse, who will be more responsive and serene when well-stretched. They will also improve the relationship of respect you have for your horse. One last piece of advice: take the time to do these stretches, never force your horse, and take care of your back, which is definitely exerted during the stretching session.
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