carrot stretch
Owner/Vet Info
Newsletter Archives
Horse Wellness Products

Follow SReinhold on Twitter 

Reinhold's Horse Wellness™
Equine Massage & Bodywork

Horse Wellness Products
Madison, Wisconsin


Keeping your horse flexible with active carrot stretches

Active stretches with the aid of a treat, so called 'carrot stretches', are nothing new and instructions can be found in many horse books and online. It's important, though, to do it right to get the most benefit. I'd like to show some basic carrot stretches here, which can help keep your horse flexible and supple.
These are 'active' stretches, meaning the horse needs to perform the stretch, vs. 'passive' stretches where the handler effects the stretch, usually by applying a pulling force to the respective limb.

Please note this important difference:

  • Active stretches - like the ones shown below - can be performed on a cold horse.
  • Passive stretches, however, can cause damage to soft tissues if performed on a cold horse. Always perform passive stretches after your horse is sufficiently warmed up. (E.g., after the warm-up phase of your workout.)

Carrot Stretches
(performed by my beloved fuzzy, rough boarded, winter bellied horse Yankee!)


carrot stretch

Stretch to the point of hip

Slowly guide your horse to the point of hip, try to keep his head there for a few seconds before releasing the treat.

carrot stretch to the fore foot

Stretch to the side of the fore foot

When performing the stretches, hold the treat for a few seconds to encourage a longer stretch.

Tip: Use long carrots :-)

How to: Let the horse follow the treat to the outside of the front hoof. Repeat on both sides.

carrot stretch to the girth line

Stretch to the girthline

Note how the horse tucks his abdominal muscles and brings his back up. This motion - as long as it is a brief stretch, and not a so called 'Rollkur', is not only a good stretch for the neckline, but also for the entire nuchal ligament.

Here my horse Yankee is 'cheating' by lifting his left foot. In this case, just do it again on the other side as well.


horse before the situp


Horse Situps

Here the horse before the 'situp'.

horse situp

The situp is performed, the horse tucks his abdominal muscles and brings his back up.

How to: Use your thumbs to slowly stroke from the sacroiliac area down the glutes and along the 'poverty line'. Limit to 2 -3 times and 1 or 2 times per week, otherwise this reflex will numb.

Note: Some horses are more sensitive than others. Try what works for your horse. You may use two quarter coins to help you with this exercise, if your horse is slow to react.

Please email me for more stretch instructions.





*) Please note: Equine massage and bodywork is a non-invasive, gentle wellness modality aimed at enhancing performance in the healthy horse and never replaces proper veterinary care. If in doubt regarding the physical health of your horse please consult your veterinarian.



all images and content © Stefanie Reinhold dba Reinhold's Horse Wellness 2007-2009 unless otherwise noted
home - about - contact - equine massage case studies - horse behavior issues - horse grooming 101 - story of a pasture injury - links - how to exercise your horse for strength and flexibility - services - testimonials - on grooming horses - benefits of equine massage - riding safety - horse grooming guidelines - warming up your horse