10 winter stretches: The abdominal lift

By Amanda Sutton

Seasonal guides

14 December 2009 11:18

Short winter days can make it difficult to ride, but here are simple ground work exercises to help maintain your horse’s fitness and mobility through the cold winter months.

This exercise activates the horse’s spine and tips his pelvis into the correct position for work. You must ensure there’s no pain here (signs include localised muscle twitching or hardness). Try this:

- Put the horse into a square halt, with his hocks in line with his bottom.

- Gently use your hands to accustom the horse to being touched under his belly, then hand groom the tummy and girth area. 

- Aim to use a firm pressure under the abdomen to initiate the lift, watching the wither to see if it rises.

- Lift and release, or lift and hold for three to four seconds. If the horse moves off, reposition his feet. Repeat this three times.