5 Stretches to Help Your Horse's Hard Working Hind End Muscles

I often come across horses with hind end muscle tightness in my practice as an equine bodyworker, elastic kinesiology taper and saddle fitter. Since horses propel themselves forward from their hind end, this is not surprising.  Whether you are doing sliding stops, jumping fences, trail riding, doing flying lead changes or simply walking, trotting, cantering or loping, your horse's "hind end muscles" are working hard.  Even horses that are retired and hanging out enjoying life with their friends in the field can develop tight hind end muscles from lack of use.

Assuming your horse is healthy, injury-free, and gets the appropriate amount of selenium and vitamin E daily, stretching is one of the best things you can do to enhance performance, help prevent injuries and keep those hind end muscles relaxed, flexible and able to do their job.  Stretching can often help address concerns about short-striding, general hind end weakness and/or imbalance, and a lack of willingness to smoothly move forward.

Here are five hind end stretches that are beneficial for most horses.  You can visit the Horse Stretches Library  for detailed stretch descriptions and the names of the muscles being stretched as well as the color coded muscle charts at the bottom of this post.  And remember, always consult an equine healthcare professional prior to starting any stretching regimen.
  1. Pelvic Rock and Hold  --  Stretches the muscles of the "low back" (lumbar/sacral area) and the muscles surrounding the point of hip, gluteals and obliques
  2. Forward Farrier High and Low  --  Stretches the hamstring muscles located on the very back of the horse's hind end on either side of the "butt crack"
  3. Farrier Low and High--  Stretches the "quad" muscles located on the front of the horse's hind legs, the gluteal muscles and some muscles surrounding the hips
  4. Forward Farrier Variations  --  Stretches additional muscles surrounding the point of hip, hamstrings and adductors and abductors
  5. Farrier Variations  --  Stretches additional muscles of the hip area as well as the muscles on the outside and inside of the horse's hind end

Are you ready to get your horse stretch on?  Step by step "how to" videos for all of these stretches are contained in the Stretch Your Horse Mobile App.

What is your favorite hind end stretch?

How has stretching benefited your horse?

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