Why do you stretch your horses so much?
There is solid reasoning for stretching (long and low, down and forward). To begin the development of the topline a horse needs to be able to counterbalance the riders weight and the lack of development in his back by lowering the neck. Once the horses neck is lowered (not forced or pulled down, and with a light positive contact) it’s back will lift and you will see the stomach muscles engage and the horse’s hind legs will begin the reach deeper underneath .
It is the beginning of the gymnastically improving the horses gaits and way of going. Our FEI horses that have advanced enough that they don’ t need the stretching as a gymnastic exercise as much as a release for the muscles that may become fatigued from carrying themselves in collection and also as a reward for a job well done. It can also have a calming effect when horses have become excitable. Our horses love to stretch and it gives them a chance to relax during a training session (in mind and body) between demanding movements.