For many years I have recognized the importance of stretching exercises for stiff horses to improve their range of motion. I have been teaching people to do “treat stretches” for this reason.
I recommend the book Activate Your Horse’s Core - Unmounted Exercises for Dynamic Mobility, Strength & Balance to learn the correct stretching methods. It comes with a DVD so you can watch the exercises being performed. One of my clients purchased this book because she had an older mare that was having difficulty getting up without help. The mare who did not have good core strength, developed a sway back. She started using the exercises not only for her mare but for her gelding too. The strengthening of this mare’s core enabled her to get up on her own and the client was able to have a couple more years of companionship. According to the client both of her horses really enjoyed the stretching and would start doing the exercises even before she offered the treats! For her horses using carrots worked the best, since they were long enough to keep her fingers out of the way.
The authors of this book are Norelle Stubbs an esteemed physical therapist and Dr. Clayton is a well-respected equine veterinarian (specializing in equine sports medicine and biomechanics). The book along with the instructional video will teach you how to use these exercises to not only improve range of motion but also to help strengthen the muscles of the neck, back, abdomen and pelvis. Think of it as core training for horses.
The book is laminated (stable hardy) with 30 color photographs and illustrations. The 95 minute long DVD is to be watched in step by step fashion. (Once you and your horse have learned one segment then view the next segment.)
Many clients have bought this book on my recommendation and it is available for purchase on our website www.holisticveterinaryoptions.com These exercises are great for building back and core strength in both the equine athlete and pasture pet. If your horse has back pain, an injury, a neurologic condition or is on stall rest, I can recommend which exercises would be appropriate for your horse.