Stretching legs before riding.. question?

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Stretching legs before riding.. question?

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  • How to stretch legs before riding a horse
  • Horse stretches out front leg

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    10-18-2011, 01:56 PM
Stretching legs before riding.. question?

So I've been stretching out my gelding's front legs the last little while and he seems to enjoy it - indeed he gets ready for me to pick up the foot by taking all his weight off it and sometimes even starts to lift it. I stretch it out in front of him and have him hold for a moment before giving it back to him.

He seems to like it, and will sometimes lean back when I pick up the foot and hold for the moment. But with the left front he sometimes will lean back until he starts loosing his balance.

Is that normal? Am a doing something wrong in the way I stretch out his foot? I normally just pick it up while he's on even footing and hold it at a 45 degree angle to the ground for 10-15 seconds.

Does anybody else stretch out their horse's legs?
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    10-18-2011, 02:00 PM
I stretch my guys legs, he has never gone all the way back to lose his balance, he merely puts quite a bit of pressure on my hands. I have to make sure that I brace myself and are ready because he will push down with his leg.

Now when the farrier puts his leg up to rasp his feet, he will stretch all the way (sometimes almost losing his balance), I think what you are experiencing is normal.
    10-18-2011, 02:02 PM
I had a horse that liked it. He'd pull like somebody who enjoyed cracking their knuckles. How did you start? Did somebody suggest this, or did the two of you just start "dancing" together one day? The only time I've heard of this is to make sure that the (english saddle) girth doesn't pinch before you get on. Whatever--if it makes you both happy, enjoy!
    10-18-2011, 02:14 PM
Originally Posted by Corporal    
The only time I've heard of this is to make sure that the (english saddle) girth doesn't pinch before you get on.
ANY time the horse is cinched. It moves the cinch back to where it needs to be, it flattens the hair and removes any 'pinched' skin.

However, you can also do it to stretch a stiff horse prior to any working. I have a filly that had a neck injury. When she is stiff, she gimps a bit in front. Stretching helps to assess her soreness that day.

You stand just to the side of the front leg you are going to stretch. Place a hand just above the knee and pull slightly. When the horse lifts - YOU DO NOT PULL - you place your other hand on the fetlock and allow the horse to stretch forward. Again DO NOT PULL. Allow the horse to stretch it's self. As small as we are, we can still yank something out of place in their leg or shoulder.

The horse will stretch down and forward. Take care you are slightly to the side so your toes aren't smushed!
    10-18-2011, 02:23 PM
Originally Posted by Corporal    
How did you start? Did somebody suggest this, or did the two of you just start "dancing" together one day?
I started doing it when I started teaching him to bow and attempting to teach the spanish walk (still a W.I.P). I found he was more supple after stretching and could get deeper bows. I also did it whenever going to tighten the girth or if he seemed stiff somehow. I ride western mostly, so my girth isn't nearly as tight as an english girth, but I find he can be a little cinchy sometimes, so the stretching helps with that too.

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