Body stretching for horses

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by VermilionStrife, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    I'm in the process of correcting hoof imbalances in my horse (I found an ELPO farrier in my area finally!) and since he's been short striding so long on the left front and favoring the right front by taking longer steps, he's stiff in the left shoulder. Mostly only noticeable now in the trot if you look close and in the left lead (doesn't reach as far with left front as he does with the right in the right lead, although the reach is getting closer to even). His walk is back to normal and he's stepping bigger than he ever used to, which is great!

    I feel like some stretching before/after riding might be beneficial, but wanted to get some input on what you guys think? I do a lot of lateral reaching (moving forward while opening his hips and shoulders) that my jumping teacher has us working on and I've noticed some improvements. Only looking for feedback on stretching or anything else I can do. :) Thanks in advance!

    PS: Just for those that are curious about what was happening with his feet, the RF has a prolapsed frog, causing a negative angle internally. Farrier has wedge pads with frog support on bottom and they've made a dramatic difference in how he moves (reaching more readily with LF in left lead).
     
  2. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    I routinely do leg stretches on both of mine before I ride.

    Front legs: hold behind the fetlock and gently stretch the leg forward. Make sure you're not at an angle. Let the horse relax into it - they do discovery it feels really good.

    Hind legs: same type of stretch forward, holding behind the fetlock. The structure of the leg is totally different so it's not going to go as far or straighten out as much. It's a subtle stretch.

    Hind leg backward, hold the foot as if you're going to clean it and stretch backward. I generally just rest it against my knee and push gently back with my leg, letting the horse relax into it. The leg should be stretched back and down, not straight back.

    I got those from my equine chiropractor.
     
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  3. RG NIGHT HEIR

    RG NIGHT HEIR Senior Member

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    I would get some body work done ,they can show you where actually the areas are that are troublesome and show you how to correctly do stretches with your horse.
     
  4. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Look up the Masterson Method on YouTube and he has some good stretches.
     
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  5. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    He is scheduled to see a chiropractor on the 15th, I just couldn't get him in any sooner. I did some stretches with him yesterday and he seemed to really enjoy them! @bellalou the ones you recommended. :) He looked like he was going to fall asleep. I did notice a difference in how he moved when I rode after too, so I think it's something I will start doing every day.

    @LoveTrail I couldn't remember the name! I've watched a few videos, thanks! I'll have to go look for more.
     
  6. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Yeah. I have found they really help Foxy and other horses I have tried it on. Usually I do the one on the sides of head to calm the horse down.
     
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  7. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    I'll have to keep that in mind for next weekend. Trouble always gets anxious in his stall the first night he's there.
     
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  8. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    Passive stretches (where you hold the leg and pull) are best done on a horse that is warmed up otherwise they can cause injury. I would normally do the stretches you describe after a brief lunge in each direction to warm up the muscles, or at the end of your ride as part of your cool down.

    Active stretches (where the horse does the work) are a better option for a cold horse that hasn't been warmed up yet. If you Google 'carrot stretches' you'll probably find plenty of videos showing you how to do them properly, but here are some articles to get you started.

    https://www.horsejournals.com/horse-carrot-stretches
    Stretching Exercises for Your Horse
    Horse Carrot Stretches

    My osteo introduced me to these and I find they really help the horse stay supple through the ribcage and neck which, in turn, help it move more freely through the shoulder. Plus it's a good excuse to give your horse more carrots! I would also definitely set up a management program with your body worker to get the best results. You may need to start off fortnightly and then reduce to monthly once the horse improves.

    Best of luck!
     
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  9. Larkspade

    Larkspade Senior Member

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    when youre doing carrot stretches to the side make sure you are keeping them either level or down, not up
     
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  10. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    I do some exercises when I'm on him to stretch those muscles while warming up, then have been stretching him after. :) He seems to really like them. His eyelids droop and he sighs.
     
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