Belly lift "stretch" question, and would a massage benefit??
Been trying to do the belly lift stretch, where you press on the belly and horse is supposed to raise back and topline. Nothing happens. I press and press, I try light touch. Horsey's back doesn't move.
He is sound, but older and has arthritic hocks that are managed with injections every 6-9 months. He is showing no signs of needing hock injections right now at the 7 month mark. We ride 3-4 times a week, flatwork and low crossrails, and trail ride at least once a week 30-60 minutes. He is a happy boy, but in our first dressage test we got "horse is stiff in the back" comments. Otherwise we did great, placing 4th! :)
Anyway, he does lack topline. I am concerned that he doesn't "remember" how to use his back if that makes sense. How to really engage it. I looked at the "horse yoga" video someone posted where they demo'ed the belly stretch, and no WAY is my horse raising his back at all.
How hard do I have to press?? I am pressing really hard right now - maybe I should tickle him with a feather?? Does he have to be standing square?
We do carrot stretches and he goes back pretty far - ALMOST to the stifle. We also trot poles sometimes and do long and low work as much as possible.
And finally, was thinking of scheduling a massage for him. I would have to think it would help loosen him up. Would love any thoughts. He moves lovely otherwise and doesn't seem to be in pain, and believe me, when he is sore or needs his hocks done, he tells me.