Stretching exercises are meant to increase range of motion, improve body flexibility and posture and prevent injury by strengthening the muscles and supportive tissues.
They have to be performed gradually and carefully on the main muscles and associated tendons of the horse.
It is recommended that the horse is properly warmed up before the stretching, and therefore it is usually conducted after the training.
The main advantages of stretching:
- increased range of motion in the joints
- improved blood supply to the muscles
- increased muscle performance
- reduced risk of an injury
- relaxation after work
When doing stretching exercises, the animal relaxes mentally. All exercises are performed very calmly and carefully, with consideration of the natural biomechanics of the horse and keeping in mind their anatomy.
Regular stretching improves the range of motion and there is a good scientific support for that*. It is very important to bear in mind that when doing gymnastics without warming up we can expose the patient to tearing or tissue damage.
Therefore I add a massage prior to stretching, as it prepares the muscular system and locomotor system to an additional work.