Range of Motion Exercises
for Your Horse's Front Legs
Range of motion exercises for your horse's front
legs will alert you to any excessive tension in
your horse's neck, shoulder, back or leg.
Just keep in mind that sometimes the problem is
not with the leg you are addressing, but may in
fact be the opposite hind leg.
For instance, my horse, Que, is recovering from
an injury in his hind right leg. It is not uncommon
for him to have trouble with these exercise in the
front left. This is because it is hard for him to put
too much weight on the hind right for too long.
How to Perform Front Leg Exercises
Position yourself facing the horse's hind end. Stand with your feet wide and bend at
the knee. Be sure to use Proper Body Mechanics . Keep your back straight. Rest
your elbow on your knee to help support the weight of your horse.
Place both of your hands in positions to support the joints in the section of the leg
you will be working with.
Move the horse's leg in small circles and then progress to larger circles. Go both
directions attempting to make 3 rotations in each direction. Be sure to work from
your legs and pelvis, not your upper body.
If your horse needs a break, or is resistant, do as
much as you can and just work up to the 3 rotations. If
he starts to struggle, give his leg a light "Shake" to
help him relax. Just don't get into a fight with him - he
will not be able to relax and will learn to not enjoy the
You will also want to circle the ankle and hoof. Give
the hoof a firm, but gentle pull and hold it for a
moment. This helps to alleviate the pressure that
To finish, try to get your horse to "dangle" his leg by
relaxing his shoulder. You will try to get him to rest his
toe on the ground slightly behind the other hoof.
Do not remove your hands from his leg right away as this will cause your horse to move his leg and place his
foot back on the ground. After a few seconds, you may remove your hands slowly. Your horse may immediately
put his foot back flat on the ground, or he may decide to leave it for a few more seconds. It is up to him.
Your goal is to increase his range of motion by doing these exercises on a regular basis. As time goes by, your
horse will become more cooperative and enjoy the exercises. He will then start to participate and make them
much easier for you to do. So, if it seems a little hard at first, don't give up. It will get easier and it is extremely
beneficial 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