Dr. Hillary Clayton's presentation I
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, November 16, 2008 10:00 AM
Dr. Hillary Clayton's team performed two types of exercises with horses: Mobilization and Stimulation Exercises. During the study the exercises were performed every day with 3-5 repetitions each. Dr. Hillary Clayton wrote a book on the basis of this work - "Activate your horse's core" with DVD to see how the stretches are asked and done by horses.
Horses performed these exercises themselves nothing was forced upon them. However, movement pattern was controlled for the desired result. These stretches are known as carrot stretches because they performed with a bait. It is very beneficial to encourage a horse to hold the stretched position for several seconds, then relax and repeat 3-5 times. These exercises are helpful for young horses in preparation for work, older horses to keep them fit, rehabilitation (one month after colic surgery), prevention of back problems in horses with bad postures. For example, short backed horses inclined to have kissing spines without clinical signs.
    Longitudinal Rounding. Neck must stay straight.
  • Chin to chest - stretches the upper neck
  • Chin to knees or between knees - stretches middle and base of the neck, lifts back
  • Chin to fetlock or between fetlocks - stretches base of the neck, lifts back
    Lateral Bending. Work both sides. Work more on stiff side.
  • Chin to girth - stand near the horse, horse's neck bends around you. Avoid sharp angle at the base of the neck.
  • Chin to flank - same as above, sharp angle should be avoided.
  • Chin to hind fetlock - activates pelvic stabilizers and abdominal muscles. Variant - lift the hind leg slightly off the ground and ask your horse to stretch toward it. One of the horses that participated in the study has improved his pirouettes and flying changes with this exercise.
Finish with neck extension. Encourage your horse to stretch forward and down to about 1 foot high from the ground. If your horse likes to lean forward on his front legs his chest should be restrained slightly (with the hand, for example) to encourage only neck stretching.
Happy riding...
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