When it comes to my exercise habits, I am a failure. I do not stretch enough and later my muscles kill me for it. Since Casey had a big workout yesterday (our first lesson together) I thought it would be a good idea to try to get her to stretch out afterwards.
So I must admit, I've never really done equine stretches before with a horse and I only really knew of one off the top of my head. It is a neck stretch where the horse basically puts their head between their legs. When I was teaching Eden tricks I basically just taught him to follow my hand (aka, the treat holder) and then I was able to teach him basic tricks from that, so I figured I'd just use the same strategy with Casey to teach her how to stretch. I took her favorite cookies and put one in my hand and held it to her lips but moved it away as she tried to nibble on it.
The first couple of times I did this she just kind of gave up, but on the third time, she actually started following the treat. So I gave her the cookie as positive reinforcement.
Then we did it again, but I asked her to go further down with her head. She almost got her head near her legs, but then kind of felt unbalanced so she stepped forward and lifted her head back up. I gave her the treat for the attempt.
The last time we did it she succeeded. She actually got her head between her legs! (Just barely, but that counts!) She got the treat and I ended with that. I'm a strong believer of stopping things on a good note and considering that she's never done this before I'm pleased that she was able to stretch as much as she did.
After doing some research at home I found a bunch more equine stretches that I can try with Casey. I think that I will gradually introduce them. I think that the next stretch I want her to learn is the neck-to-shoulder stretch.
Does anyone else do equine stretches with their horse? Which do you think are the best stretches for them? Any tips or tricks? Leave them in the comments!