Exactly. All I'm hearing is they were stretched, but stretched HOW and under what circumstances, what discipline did these horses do and stuff like that.
And, I just want to add, there are good vets and there are bad vets. There are also some vets that will say one thing, and others that say the complete opposite. I try and keep that in mind when I hear about vet studies, because there's almost always going to be another "side" or strategy, and I want to know both and learn from both.
"Effects of a stretching regime on stride length and range of motion in equine trot."
The veterinary journal (1997)
Im going to try and look up the article on a campus computer so I can get into
Science direct tomorrow and see if I can post it.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to quantify the effects of two different 8-week stretching regimes on stride length (SL) and range of motion (ROM) in the equine trot. Eighteen horses were divided into three matched groups: a 6 days/week stretching regime (6DSR), a 3 days/week stretching regime (3DSR) and a control no-stretching regime (NSR). SL and ROM data were collected at weeks 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 for trot in-hand.
Stretching had no significant effect on SL. A number of significant differences were found in joint ROM between treatments in the shoulder, stifle and hock, suggesting some negative biomechanical effects of the 6DSR. Stretching daily may be too intensive and cause delayed onset of muscle soreness. Further examination of stretch frequency may establish its potential to enhance performance and welfare.
Im really interested in reading some more. It seems that it's possible to over do it, but in moderation it is okay/beneficial.
I find this interesting, but I guess it makes sense. Everything can be over done, and over stretching can cause tears and stiffness from what I hear. Just out of curiosity, what kind of stretch were they using specifically for this study?
Hmm, interesting! Spastic Dove, I hope you can find the whole article to post! I'd love to see when (before or after workout) the horses were stretched and what muscles/how they were stretched.
I learned back in my gymnastics days that stretching cold muscles is basically useless. Possibly harmful if overdone. But stretching warm muscles is GOOD (for us humans anyways).
I stretch my horse's neck/back mid-way through our workout by walking a few tight circles and/or bending his nose to my toe (or thereabouts) at a halt. I stretch my horse's front legs immediately after a good workout when I personally have that "man, I want to stretch out my hamstrings" feeling. =) I never learned how to stretch back legs, so I don't do it.
I also found it. Here's some answers to our questions:
Eighteen riding-school horses of similar performance and fitness levels, comprising six mares and 12 geldings (mean age ± SD 11 ± 3.84 years) were divided into three matched groups according to conformation, breed type and age.
Stretches were applied to all limbs and were performed by one researcher who was a qualified equine body worker. All subjects were warmed up for 10 min on a horse walker (5 min in each direction) prior to the stretching treatment.
The stretching regime (all passive techniques) consisted of a limb relaxation technique and specific forelimb and hindlimb stretches as recommended by Pattillo (2005). The forelimb stretches were modified girth stretch, full girth stretch, leg flexor lift and triceps release. The hindlimb stretches comprised hamstring stretch, farrier stretch, stifle and hip flexor stretch and lateral quad stretch. The stretches were applied twice and held for 10 s initially and then for a further 20 s. The control subjects had approximately 10 min of human contact time daily, to ensure that all groups had the same amount of human intervention; this consisted of brushing the body and picking up the hooves. All subjects were on a similar exercise and management routine and were stabled at the same location. One veterinarian examined all horses before the trial began to ensure physical soundness and general health.
Measurements of stride length (SL) and range of motion (ROM) in trot were obtained using video analysis prior to the treatment (week 0) and every 2 weeks during the 8-week treatment regime. The joints examined were the shoulder, elbow, carpus, fore fetlock, hip, stifle, hock and hind fetlock. An experienced researcher applied skin markers to the appropriate anatomical locations (Fig. 1) for measurement of these joints (following the method described in Clayton and Schamhardt, 2001 H.M. Clayton and H.C. Schamhardt, Measurement techniques for gait analysis. In: W. Back and H.M. Clayton, Editors, Equine Locomotion, W.B. Saunders, London (2001).Clayton and Schamhardt, 2001).
Horses were videoed being trotted-up in-hand by the same experienced handler at a consistent speed for each horse. Speeds were calculated using computer software and analysed to ensure that there was no significant difference between groups.
The frequency with which passive stretches are applied to the horse appears to have some influence on horse movement. This research did not demonstrate consistent improvement in equine movement as a result of passive stretching and highlighted the possibility that stretching on a daily basis may not be appropriate. Application of stretching on a three-times-per-week basis may be a safer option for the industry to consider.
Effects of a stretching regime on stride length and range of motion in equine trot The Veterinary Journal, Volume 181, Issue 1, July 2009, Pages 53-55
Natasha S. Rose, Alison J. Northrop, Charlotte V. Brigden,
So basically stretching 3x a week is good. Stretching 6 days a week not so good which makes sense and seems to line up with what I thought. Seems like these were full body stretching regimines which should be taken into consideration too...
I also have the full article available.
I wouldn't stop stretching your horses, guys! Just don't overdo it like with anything else. :)