Keeping Stiffness Away
One of the first things we teach young horses is to flex and bend. As a horse progresses in training we ask them to bend in the rib cage. Fast forward to when a horse is “finished”, you will still need to work a little each day to keep a horse supple. There are a few ways to keep a horse soft and fluid in their movements.
Proper warm up
From the moment you get on your horse it is up to you to loosen your horse up. Spending adequate time walking, allows your horse to move and begin to get blood flowing within muscles. It never hurts to go back to the basics and start with bending and flexing. Walking several perfect circles each direction allows me to see if there is a side that is a bit more tense. I then move into side passing and making sure my horse is bending in the rib cage. Just remember to do every equally on both sides. I like to count my laps each direction while trotting. I then lope a few Laps and move into smaller circles getting my horses nose tipped to the inside. After loping circles I will open up my horses up a bit in the straight aways in a faster lope to let them stretch their legs a bit. By having a proper warm up you can prevent injuries and post exercise stiffness in your horse.
Stretching and Applying DiO
You never want to stretch a horse before the ride...
Any time you can provide your horse with more forage and less processed feed, the better.
The past few years riders have become more aware of their horses muscle health. While some disorders are genetic, some like tying up, can stem from a horses diet. Taking a closer look at a horses diet, especially if you have one that feels muscle bound, may lead you to finding your feed is high in starches and sugars. Any time you can provide your horse with more forage and less processed feed, the better.