JOE WICKS FOR HORSES? WELL, AT A STRETCH…

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With riding curtailed, your customers are looking for new equestrian activities to enjoy. 

Lockdown has seen horse owners searching for fresh ways to spend time with their horses.

Many have been having fun with ground work, using poles and obstacles, or revisiting long reining and lungeing. 

And there’s no reason why these habits shouldn’t continue. 

Stretching is another popular way of spending quality time with horses and ponies.

It’s also something owners might wish to explore if their horses have missed physiotherapy appointments due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Reaching for treats

Any DIY remedial exercises must be done carefully to avoid doing more harm than good, says Harriet Beecroft of H&H Veterinary Physiotherapy.

Harriet is a brand ambassador for Horsylx - and she recommends using the tasty licks to entice horses to stretch. Always start very gently, she says. 

Mini Horslyx, which come in 650g hand-held tubs, are ideal. The mint and garlic flavours are particularly appealing to the discerning equine palate. 

“I often prescribe baited stretches for owners to use between physiotherapy appointments,” says Harriet.

“Stretches are great for encouraging core engagement. They also provide feedback about the horse’s sense of body position, encourage controlled balance and weight transfer, and improve flexibility, suppleness and strength.” 

Different baited stretches can be used depending on which areas are to be targeted. 

How to stretch a horse

Working with a Mini Horslyx, Harriet has demonstrated some stretches especially for ETN. The horse in the photographs is Berry, who is on a rehab programme following a long period of box rest. 

Harriet says: “All stretches should be performed within a controlled, safe environment, on flat level ground. Ideally, they should follow exercise so that the soft tissue structures are sufficiently warmed. 

“I’d suggest owners discuss specific stretches with their physiotherapist before performing them, to ensure they are suitable for the individual horse.”

But for owners giving it a gentle try - what should they watch out for?

“Tilting the head, bending the legs and or resistance when asked to perform a stretch can indicate that the difficulty level is too challenging for the horse,” warns Harriet.

“It’s much more beneficial to start with an easy level of stretch and then progress slowly.”

More than tasty

As well as being highly palatable, Horslyx contain vitamins, minerals and trace elements to balance common deficiencies in grazing and forage. 

These ‘balancers in a lick’ come in 5kg and 15kg blocks, as well as Minis, making them suitable for use in the stable or paddock. Varieties include original, mint, garlic, mobility, respiratory and digestion. 

Horslyx have been manufactured since 1997 at Silloth in Cumbria. To find out more visit www.horslyx.com

Main image designed by rawpixel.com / Freepik