Equine Stretching Exercises
Active or Passive?
First of all, let's begin by discussing the difference
between Active and Passive Stretching Exercises.
When the horse stretches by the guidance of a
person. It can be while riding, or by getting the horse
to move in a certain way on it's own (such as getting
the horse to stretch his neck by holding out a carrot).
When the person physically moves the horse's body
for him - usually done with the legs and tail.
The purpose of this lesson is to discuss and demonstrate the proper way to perform equine stretching exercises
on the ground.
Riding exercises are much too involved to describe on this website and are better to be understood by reading a
good book such as:
Most of the exercises that I will be presenting are in the Passive Stretching category. Only a few will be in the
Active Stretching category.
Proper care needs to be taken when applying passive stretching to a horse. In fact, Karin Blignault says on
page 40 of her book that -
"Passive stretching can be dangerous and can cause injury if performed
incorrectly. It is very much preferable that anyone seeking to carry out passive
stretching should first gain experience by observing and being guided by a
I tend to agree with Karin. As I stated earlier, I see more people "stretch" their horse incorrectly than I see doing
it correctly. I think many people think that horses are big and it is hard to hurt them, but that is not true.
Improper stretching can cause muscle damage. Overstretching a muscle can cause it to go into a spasm.
If you continue to pull on a spasm, you will most likely tear some of the muscle tissue or possibly cause a
pulled muscle injury.
If the thought of hurting your horse discourages you from applying
equine stretching exercises, you might want to try
Range of Motion Exercises for Your Horse
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended
to replace professional opinions or recommendations.
Consult your veterinarian for advice about any medical condition or
treatment needed for your horse