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EQUINE EXERCISES PART 4 OF 4: Neck Stretches

How to Help Your Horse Between Chiropractic or Acupuncture Visits

by Dr. Calsey Grant

This is part four in a four-part series of exercises you can do with your horse that will support the work I have done between chiropractic care or acupuncture treatments. 

Neck Stretches

These neck stretches are good mobilization and rounding exercises. These stretches use bait, here a carrot, to encourage the horse’s head to move to the desired position. Try not to let a food-motivated horse “launch” themselves after the treat and snatch it away from you. For any good stretch encourage slower, correct movement and try to hold ideal positions for several seconds at a time. I have outlined in the standing picture generally where the 7 vertebrae of the neck are located as reference.

NeckStretches01

Nose to Chest Equine Exercise

Nose to Knees Equine Exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first stretch is chin to chest. This position encourages pronounced flexion of the upper and middle neck. Start with the horse standing square and you standing behind the shoulder facing forward. Hold the treat in the hand closest to the horse and pass it forward between the front limbs at the base of the chest. Use the treat to bring the chin to the center of the chest and hold the position. In this photo, the neck is not quite straight but the head tilted slightly to the left. Centered to the chest is ideal.

The second photo shows the chin between the knees stretch. The stretch encourages pronounced flexion of the middle and lower neck. Start the stretch the same as previous, ensuring the front limbs are far enough apart to allow the head to fit between the knees. Pass the treat forward between the knees and entice the horse’s chin down between the knees and hold it for several seconds. Increase stretching by drawing the chin farther back between the knees. The horse may bend one or both knees slightly if they have a shorter neck, which is fine.