So, part of Bacon and I's new routine includes stretches. Not for me so much, but for her. Every day (if I remember) I try to do stretches with her in hopes to treat her more like an athlete. I read a article recently that examined the effects of stretching and the effects of creating a round topline. They only did stretches (no other riding) and each of the horses showed improvement after a few of months. I like improvement. Give me some of that.
The stretches I have been doing are all of the stretches on the Evention video. Bacon has started to become accustomed to these now, though she still gives me confusing looks after making her reach to her hip for a carrot.
But I have also read info that is somewhat conflicting as far as stretching goes too. Another study showed that horses that were stretched 6 days a week had detrimental effects (lowered range of motion). These were focused on stretching of the limbs. Three days a week seemed best and increased range of motion in the joints (stifle, shoulder and hock were most significant), but did not increase stride length. So, hmmm.
In the first article, they were working on rounding and lateral stretches to strengthen the abdominal muscles in the horse. These were chin to chest, chin between knees, and chin between fetlocks, and chin to girth, chin to hip, chin to hind fetlock. These were done 5 times a day(!!) 5 days a week for 3 months. That's a lot of stretching.
So, my question is, do you stretch your horse? Have you seen any benefit from stretching? How often and what exercises do you do? Bacon's favorite stretch seems to be the last one in the evention video. I am hoping that I provide the correct stretches for her, and that they further improve her performance and comfort.