Range of Motion Exercises Improve
Your Horse's Performance
Range of motion exercises are a wonderful
compliment to Equine Massage Therapy.
Range of motion exercises help to move the
horse's muscles and joints through the various
motions of flexion, extension, abduction,
adduction, and rotation. These are movements that
the horse generally is not able to do on his own.
By moving your horse's body through these range
of motion exercises, you will help to increase their
ability to move more freely, resulting in a softer,
more supple and flexible horse.
It will also teach your horse how to have better
balance - which will help with farrier visits,
trailering, and definitely riding.
You can use these exercises before riding as a warm up (however, do not use them
on a horse that has been standing for a period of time without walking them to loosen
them up first).
Range of motion exercises can also help to remove some stress and tension from the
horse's joints . Horses stand almost all of the time. Because of this, there is almost
always pressure on his joints. By lifting up his leg and applying range of motion
exercises, you can help to release some of this built up tension and stress.
Some horses may find these exercises a little strange at first and may resist. But, if
you do them a little at a time, they will learn to enjoy them. Be patient and give them
some time to figure out what you are trying to do.
Range of motion exercises are different than Equine Stretching Exercises . In
stretching exercises, you are attempting to bring the muscle to it's full extension and
then hold it for a period of time.
If you add these exercises into your grooming routine, you will see improvements in your horse. You will notice that
they become less tense which will help them to become a more willing partner.
My horse, Que, loves these exercises and I think that he almost looks forward to it. Ever since he was injured, he
has had a problem with tension in his body. These exercises help him to release the tension and keep him from
forming too many compensation patterns. They also help him to get very relaxed and move into the
Parasympathetic state that we try to achieve with equine bodywork.
As I have mentioned before, bodywork will increase your bond with your horse. It makes them a more willing partner
due to the fact that it increases your horse's trust in you as well as their own ability to do what you are asking of
them. It will also help them to become more confident. A relaxed horse is not as spooky and fearful as a nervous
I hope you will try these exercises. I know you will see a difference in your horse if you just give it a little time.
In range of motion exercises, you are attempting to increase the amount of "range" the limb is able to move in
through movements. You do not hold the limb in any one position for any length of time.
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