Stretching

Stretching is important for horses as for humans


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Stretching is an important part of ridden work. Whether undertaking stretching as part of a warm up, cool down or stand alone activity it is a major contributing factor to achieving muscular fitness and has enormous benefits for both horse and rider.

Stretching:
- keeps muscles supple and comfortable, enhances body awareness and proprioception, improves coordination, optimises athletic ability and reduces stiffness.
- Elongates the muscle fibres, ensuring optimum range of movement.
- Lessens tension on joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments.
- Improves the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, allowing more oxigen and nutrients to enrich the muscles.
- Contributes to the efficient removal of toxic by-products of metabolism; an important factor in preventing fatigue and reducing recovery time.
- Contributes to mental and physical relaxation.

Stretching can be do by a therapist vet or handler or can be do riding the horse with strengthtening exercise programme dependent on age, breed, fitness and condition. Muscle adapts, get larger, stronger and is rebuilt slowly. After intense training sessions, to avoid strain, fatigue and to allow the muscles time to recover, it is recommended intense strength training sessions two or three times per week.

With Cameron Hanley and Edward Levy