07-27-2011, 01:07 AM
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There are some stretches you could do that helped Cinny a great deal. They are somewhat hard to explain but I'll try. When you pick her hind legs, before putting the leg down support her knee and pull the leg straight back like a farrier does...slowly, gently and no more than she can handle. Hold for a few seconds. Then take her and stretch her forward...again, much like the farrier does and supporting under the knee and hold a few seconds. Do on both sides, and sometimes I repeat. If your horse tollerates you doing things with her tail, tails stretches are good too and help relax the back. You want her to stand as square as you can reasonably (she'll probably square up better during the stretch) and then you gently grab the tail hair just below of the tailbone (never grab the tailbone) and gently pull straight back. This is really awkward for them at first but you want to encourage her to pull against you. Hold for a few seconds and release, then repeat. You want to slowly let your weight pull the tail, no sudden movements. It takes a week or so for them to get used to this one and start learning to pull away. I have to do this one every time I saddle Cinny because he likes to stand like a dork and make me get his saddle crooked...when I stretch between tightenings I can make him straighten and and look that the spine of the saddle is straight along Cin's spine.
If your horse shows any agitation at all to any of the stretches, stop doing it. You could either A not be doing something correctly or B there could be some other issue that a vet or chiro needs to see to. Also your vet or chiro could probably look at how you are stretching and make sure you are doing them right.
Another thing that really really helped Cin was turns on the fore. Do a full 360 each direction a few times before riding and occasionally during your ride. It gets them to open up their hips and warms up/stretches the muscles. I didn't think this one would work when someone told me to do it, but after about 2 weeks I noticed a big difference.
Cinny used to just be straight up and down on his hind end with no forward or lateral movement whatsoever. Now I have plenty of lateral and I had to buy boots for his fronts because now he's going so far forward he is nicking his fronts a touch. My trainer says it's because now that he has the reach, he has to learn to control it ha ha.