You may have come across 'carrot stretches' - a stretching exercise that horses and horse owners partake in together involving the horse performing different stretches and poses for a tasty treat. Stretching can help to improve core strength, flexibility and suppleness in horses. You will most likely see these benefits when riding - especially if your horse practices stretches regularly. With regular stretching, you can expect to notice small improvements in your horses flexibility and core strength within just 2-3 weeks!
That all sounds relatively simple, doesn't it? Your horse practices equine yoga for a few weeks then his abilities under the saddle are improved. Except, it isn't quite that simple. Learning to balance themselves, move with control and hold a stretch can be difficult for some horses. Sometimes a tempting treat can be too difficult to resist resulting in the horse stepping towards the treat instead of stretching. Similarly, horse owners can accidentally over-stretch their horses causing soreness or even injury. This is why it's important that the horse stretches to where is naturally comfortable for them. Using an alternative method of stretching, like the use of a treat ball may be more beneficial. Check out the Red Gorilla Dripfeed here.
Dripfeeders, treat balls and other floor based treats encourage the horse to stretch in a 'bowing' motion. This enables the topline muscles (the muscles on the top of the horses back and neck) to extend and stretch. Dripfeeders and treat balls are particularly beneficial for this type of exercise as they also encourage movement at the same time as stretching. This enables the horse to practice flexibility and core strength at the same time, similar to the way they would when being ridden.
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