How to Warm Up Your Horse with Carrot Stretches for a Better Ride

Click the video above to see how you can warm up your horse with 3 different carrot stretches.

How many times have you gone on a run or done an exercise class without taking the time to warm up and then regretted it?

You felt stiff and maybe even a little miserable during part (or all) of your workout. The same thing can happen with your horse if you don’t let his muscles move and stretch before hitting the ground running.

One of the best ways to prime those muscles before hopping on your horse is by doing carrot stretches.

The thing is that most horse owners aren’t sure exactly how to do carrot stretches with their horses in a safe and effective way.

But, that changes today.

Setting your horse up correctly to get the most out of stretching

In the above video, I walk you through how to position your horse and yourself on the ground so the stretches are both effective for your horse and safe for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your horse is standing square – To get the most out of the exercises you want your horse to not move his feet and keep them directly underneath himself. Otherwise, it’s too easy for him to get at the carrot without actually stretching correctly for it.
  • Forget the carrots if your horse is aggressive around treats – Not all horses are polite when it comes to taking treats. If you’ve got one that likes to get pushy, leave the carrots or treats aside. Either direct your horse with your hand or gently pull him in the direction you want by the halter.
  • Keep the stretch for several seconds – Ideally, you’ll have your horse maintain the stretch for 3-5 seconds. If your horse has a difficult time with the stretch, continue to lure his head to the spot where you want it to end up. Over time, he will increase his flexibility and the amount of time he can hold a stretch.
  • Always stretch both sides of the horse – This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s easy to lose sight of what you’ve done on one side of the horse (especially when you’re in a hurry.) It’s a great idea to take note of which side you’re horse is most stiff so you can work on those areas under saddle.

Carrot stretches are one of the best ways to set yourself up for success in the saddle.

Whenever you run through a series of stretches with your horse, you’re doing a quick evaluation of where he’s at physically and emotionally on any given day. You can figure out if he’s dealing with any muscle tightness and exactly where that tightness is. Then, you can use that information to come up with a plan before, during, and after your ride that may include targeted massage or suppling exercises.

Give these carrot stretches a try next time you see your horse. Let me know what you think about these exercises and the video on the socials.

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