Range of Motion Exercises
for Your Horse's Hind Legs
Range of motion exercises for your horse's hind
legs will also help alert you to excessive tension in
your horse's hind legs and back. If you do these
exercises regularly, it will help to loosen the
tension in his hind legs and back muscles. This
will increase your horse's range of motion.
This will help your horse to have longer strides and
improve his ability to use his hind end for power
and balance. This is really good for dressage
horses who need to be engaged in their
hindquarters. But it is beneficial for all horses to be
looser in their back muscles and use their hind
end more comfortably.
These exercises will also help with balance,
standing for the farrier and trailering.
How to Perform Hind Leg Exercises
Safety first!!! If your horse kicks, keep yourself safe at all times. You
may even want to skip these exercises until you feel it is safe.
Performing hind leg range of motion exercises is very similar to the
Front Leg Range of Motion Exercises.
Position yourself facing the hindquarters. Be sure to check your body mechanics. Straight back, bent knees,
use your legs and pelvis for motion, support yourself by putting your elbow on your knee, etc.....read the front
leg instructions again. if needed.
Some horses may be very restricted and may only be able to do small circles at first. Horses who are asked for
a lot of collection may have this problem. Horses with sore backs or arthritis may also be very limited. This is
OK. It is where you have to start. Do NOT try to move the horse any farther than he is able.
If you stick with these exercises, your horse's muscles
will begin to relax and his movements will become
larger. Do not be impatient. If the horse struggles or is
resistant, give the leg a little "Shake". If he needs a
break, give him one. Some horses will have a hard time
at first simply due to lack of balance.
Hold the leg with both hands placed to support the
section of the leg you are working with. Pull the leg
slightly forward and attempt to do 3 circles in each
direction. Then pull it slightly backward and do 3 circles
in each direction.
Now rotate the ankle in both directions. End with a
gentle, but firm pull on the hoof to provide traction to the
Finish by placing the toe on the ground as you did for the front legs. Do not remove your hands right away or your
horse will probably put his foot back down.
Again, do NOT get into a fight with your horse. If he is not able to do 3 circles, that is fine. Keep them small at
first and work up to larger circles over the course of multiple sessions.
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