The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

Ease your horse’s neck stiffness with this gentle fascial stretch!

If your horse is stiff through his neck, you can help to improve the movement with regular stretches.

If you prefer to listen to this blog, click on the video below. Otherwise, please scroll down to read 🙂

This fascial stretch of the equine neck and shoulder girdle muscles is taken from the online course, “Stretching Your Horse: A Guide to Keeping Your Equine Friend Happy and Healthy”, with me, Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio. I’m on a mission to help those who can’t get the horse physio assessment and treatment they would like to offer their horse, and I’ve carefully and lovingly created this course with that aim in mind.

Fascial neck stretch (lateral flexion of the cervical spine)

What to do: Running your fingers down in front of the shoulder blade, place your other hand around your horse’s nose and gently ask him to bend his head around towards you. When he’s bending as far as he feels comfortable to do so, ask him to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.

Why: Stiffness through the neck can occur for many reasons, and can create a variety of problems including taking a long time to warm up in his ridden work, and not moving freely through the forehand.

The ideal: Your horse is willing to bend his head and neck around when asked, and to hold that position.

Check for: Bending more willingly or further in one direction than the other.

Included below is a video of how to perform this fascial stretch. To learn nine more fascial stretches, and gain a deeper understanding of how, why, when, where and how to stretch your horse, enrol today on “Stretching Your Horse: A Guide to Keeping Your Equine Friend Happy and Healthy”.

Gentle and relaxing

This is a gentle, relaxing stretch for your horse that may reduce muscle spasm, increase range of movement, and improve performance and/or behaviour.

If you struggle with this exercise or have any concerns about your horse, please contact your vet or physical therapist. In the UK, you can find Chartered Physiotherapists at the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy, and Registered Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners at the Register of Animal Musculskeletal Practitioners (similar organisations exist in other countries).

Disclaimer: Please be aware that horses can be dangerous, and following these exercises is done at your own risk.  Sue Palmer / The Horse Physio accept no responsibility for accident or injury that may be caused.

Which horses would benefit from stretches?

Stretching is universally beneficial, whether your horse is a happy hacker or a seasoned competition horse. Regardless of age or discipline—be it dressage, show jumping, eventing, or simply a companion—stretching can contribute to your horse’s well-being.

How do I recognise stiffness and soreness?

Understanding your horse’s physical condition is crucial. The online course ‘Stretching Your Horse’ includes ten fascial stretches to assess your horse’s comfort level on a regular basis and to flag up potential pain or discomfort that may be affecting his behaviour or performance.

Please help me to help 100 horses.

Do you live in an area where it’s challenging to get access to physio for your horse? Does the cost of physio mean that you can’t have your horse treated as often as you’d like? Would you like to be able to do more for your horse?

Do you know someone to whom any of the above applies? Please help me reach these people and their horses by sharing this information. I’d love to help 100 horses this month; perhaps it’s your horse I can help. If not your horse, wouldn’t it feel wonderful knowing that you have made a difference by passing on the information someone needs to support their horse?

I’m on a mission to help those who can’t get the horse physio assessment and treatment they would like to offer their horses. I’ve carefully and lovingly created the online course, “Stretching Your Horse: A Guide to Keeping Your Equine Friend Happy and Healthy’ towards achieving this goal.

Course Overview

Discover the transformative power of stretching for your horse with this comprehensive course. It provides easy-to-follow instructions on various stretches to enhance your horse’s comfort, movement, and overall performance. By the end of the course, you will not only understand the importance of stretching, you will also gain practical knowledge about its implementation.

A regular stretching routine can offer a multitude of benefits:

  • It may improve comfort by alleviating tension and discomfort in your horse’s muscles.
  • It may increase the range of movement by enhancing flexibility, towards smoother and more efficient movement.
  • It may reduce the risk of injury through improved muscle condition.
  • It may promote relaxation and reduce stress-related behaviours.
  • It may improve performance so that you experience higher scores in dressage or more clear rounds jumping.

Just as a short yoga session can leave you feeling more relaxed, a 15-minute stretching session can do wonders for your horse’s comfort and well-being.

Meet Sue Palmer – The Horse Physio

I’m Sue Palmer, aka The Horse Physio. I’m an author, educator, and award-winning Chartered Physiotherapist. I specialise in understanding the links between pain and behaviour in horses and promote the kind and fair treatment of horses through empathetic education. To hear more from me, sign up for my free newsletter.

You can find The Horse Physio on the web, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on YouTube.

Join Us on the Journey

Enrol today in “Stretching Your Horse: A Guide to Keeping Your Equine Friend Happy and Healthy” and take the next step on the wellness journey with your horse.

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