Stretching is a necessary part of any athlete''s exercise and maintenance routine. Long recognized to promote flexibility and prevent injury in humans, stretching can bring the same benefits to horses when made part of their daily care. This illustrated handbook makes it easy for riders and owners to include simple exercises that improve performance and increase longevity in their usual training schedule.Optimal equine performance requires strength, flexibility, coordination, and resilience. The practice of stretching makes it possible to develop and maintain all these elements in harmony. It also provides valuable transition time from hours that may have been spent in a stall to the gymnastic expectations we have for horses under saddle: rhythm and elasticity of the gaits, willingness to go forward, beautiful and dynamic movement, reliability and surefootedness, and more.With clear descriptions of the anatomical and physiological principles of stretching, readers gain an understanding of the exercises that may be best for their horses and disciplines in mind. Then, detailed instructions are provided explaining:- Simple, quick-to-do joint and muscle evaluations.- Stretches targeting specific muscle groups.- Stretches to promote suppleness and relaxation.- Stretches to warm up and prepare for work.- Stretches for cool down and recovery.Color photographs demonstrate evaluations and stretches step-by-step, supplemented by detailed explanations of what you may discover in your horse''s reactions. Perhaps best of all, readers are provided a therapeutic reason for more hands-on time with their horses, and new ways to listen to him, to understand him, and to ultimately improve his well-being and performance.
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