Simple stretches to improve Flexibility

As featured in PONY Magazine, here's our step-by-step guide showing how you can improve your horse or pony's flexibility with a couple of simple stretches using Likit Products...

Why stretch?
These simple exercises with tasty Likits (either Likit Snaks or the Little Likit will work best & help you hold the stretch for longer) encourage a horse or pony to stretch as far as his abilities allow, improving his flexibility. He may increase the stretch or go beyond what he thought he could do, but will never overstretch beyond the abilities of his soft tissue, such as muscles and ligaments.  Therefore, the stretches shown do no harm and are a fun way to get your pony more supple. Stretching isn't just a fantastic benefit to your pony's muscles, it also helps to create and strengthen the bond between you - and we all want that!

Stretch One: Neck & Shoulder Stretch

side_stretch_start_LRside_stretch2_LRside_stretch_around_LR

 

 

 


It is important that your horse or pony stands on a level, non-slip surface. You could try these first in a stable to help make the exercises easier, and to prevent your pony from cheating by moving around!
Using your Likit treats, encourage your horse or pony to reach across the side of his body so his muzzle is level with his shoulder to loosen his neck (1&2).

Top Tips:

  • Try to prevent your horse or pony from tilting his head as this does not flex the upper cervical spine and soft tissues properly.
  • You can also stand with your back to your horse or pony so he has to stretch around you, and this loosens his neck/shoulder junction (3).

Complete the same stretch twice on each side and hold for up to 20 seconds (this is where the Likit treats come in handy!).

Stretch Two: Back and Abdominal Stretch
Stretching between the front legs is great for topline, and engages abdominal muscles.

to_knee_LRback_stretch_LR

When first introducing this stretch only ask your horse or pony to stretch down to the knees (4) and, as he gets the idea, gradually encourage the head lower by moving the Likit towards the girth area. Try to keep the head and neck straight as your horse or pony extends down (5).
A supple horse or pony should be able to bend both his front legs until his ears are in line with his knees (6).
This will stretch the whole spine and associated soft tissues, also encouraging the horse or pony to lift his back.
Again, repeat the stretch a few times, using the Likit to encourage and hold the stretch.

Why not print off our handy guide to Likit Stretches as featured in PONY Magazine then you can try them at home!  Click here to download.

We bet your pony enjoys his stretching as much as he enjoys the Likits!

Likit Stretches were developed in conjunction with equine massage therapist Sophie Slavin, to find out more about the services offered by Sophie, visit her website: http://www.horsemassage.co.uk/

Written by PONY Magazine, Sophie Slavin, Likit at 12:00, 10 January 2013
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