It’s been a manic 4 weeks since I posted an Equine blog. And with my Equine qualification starting to really take shape, the end has never been more in sight. With this said, I’m spreading myself extremely thinly in my human clinic while travelling to Lincolnshire for practical days, exams and submitting my module 4 assignment. Therefore, todays blog comprises of some super easy, quick reference carrot stretches for you to take away and treat your ponies with!
Now, a disclaimer, these are not my documents but the whole process of learning is researching and seeking the knowledge and education of others. These images are super helpful when wanting to understand why we’re doing the stretch we want to do.
Trainers, vets and therapists are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of stretching as part of a horse’s routine. When Equine Therapists attend their horsey appointments, it is not uncommon for them to perform stretching throughout their treatments. The reason for this is to maintain a healthy musculature, flexibility and suppleness in order to reduce the risk of tendon & muscle damage.
There are two main types of stetches, and as therapists we have to make a judgement on the competence of the owners when prescribing homework for them to complete in between treatments.
The two stretches are;
Passive stretches; performed by the handler, whereby the horse is relaxed and confident to achieve the stretch
Active stretches; needing muscular contraction from the horse in order to move the body part & create the stretch themselves. These can be performed during ridden or ground work exercises… using… you guessed it… CARROTS!
How to stretch?
Slowly position the horse in a stretch via either active or passion ranges of movement (see above)
Hold for 5-15 seconds allowing the fibres to relax before taking the stretch a little further
Be patient, the benefits will be seen if you perform stretches regularly and consistently
Increase stride length
Increase range of movement
Elicit more flexibility
Produce higher levels of athleticism
Reduce muscular soreness
Lessen the tension held
Better protect the horses joints, muscles and tendons
Improve a horses co-ordination
Allow for maintenance of current properties the horse holds
Increase mental and physical relaxation
Enhance body awareness
Below are the two main carrot stretches used to target the neck area of a horse.
Please note, unless confident and been made aware of how to and why to stretch a horse using carrot stretches please do not try these at home without seeking advice first.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this little blog outlining some useful information and opening the door to carrot stretches!
I hope that with the next blog I can bring to you some exciting news- watch this space!
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
Student Wolds Equine Sports Massage & Rehabilitation Therapist