Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
DO NOT tie your horses head around. It's appalling, and completely unnecessary.
Try lots of figure 8's and serpentine's at the walk first, and then the trot. Keep the inside rein light and fluffy, occasionally giving him featherlight tugs to encourage him to bend both ways. You can also do lots of different sized circles, a 20m, a 15m, a 10m, back to a 15m. You can also spiral [which is, in fact, different from different sized circles], making each circle a little smaller than the last. Just be careful not to make too many small circles.
As far as stretching, I stretch AFTER I ride, when her muscles are warm. Light stretching before a ride is okay, but it's not good for people to stretch cold muscles, and muscles are muscles, so I'm sure it's not good for horses either. I stretch to each side twice, between her legs with her right leg forward, then again with her left leg forward. I also hold a treat up for her to stretch up to, as well as stretching her neck forward. Just be careful not to let your horse "bounce" when he stretches, and try to convince him to hold the stretch for a few seconds.
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."