Tips and Techniques
So, here are some basic things that you should know before stretching your horse.
Warm Up Your Horse Before Stretching:
It is actually better to stretch a horse after the ride
than it is before. Stretching cold muscles leads to
injury. If you stretch them after a ride on a regular basis,
you will see a cumulative effect that will help your horse
If you really want to stretch before a ride, warm them up
lightly on the longe line or take them for a brisk walk
before saddling them. 15 minutes into a workout, or
within 30 minutes of the end of the workout is a good
rule of thumb to go by.
Stretching can also be used after an Equine Massage
Therapy session. The massage would have "warmed
up" the muscles for you. If in doubt, a light walk before
stretching can be a good idea.
Do NOT Over-Stretch Your Horse!!!
ALWAYS Error on the Side of Too Little:
Use Common Sense:
Use Proper Body Mechanics:
Do NOT Stretch a Horse on Concrete or Other Hard Surfaces:
Read the Section About Equine Anatomy and Physiology:
The point of stretching is not to see how far you can
get your horse to stretch. It is to gradually increase
his range of motion over time. Pulling harder on a
muscle to get it to go farther is the absolute wrong
thing to do. You will most likely cause injury to your
Better to under-stretch than over-stretch. You will never
harm your horse by not stretching him far enough. Stay
within his comfort range.
If he starts to object, I am sure he has a good reason.
Listen to him.
Stretching is not a competition. Your horse may or may not be able to stretch as far as your friend's
If your "gut" is telling you that you might be stretching too far - you probably are.
Do NOT compromise your body to stretch your horse. It is important
that you both be comfortable.
Quite often, horse's feet will slip on concrete, especially if they have shoes. I will NEVER stretch a horse
anywhere that they would hurt themselves if they happened to fall down onto a knee. Now, I have never
had this happen to me, but then I don't stretch on concrete either. Be aware that rubber mats can be
slippery when they are damp. The best place is in an arena or on grass, sand, or sawdust.
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