Stretch Downs In-Hand are highly important! A more advanced approach to training young horses on the ground, are stretch downs. The importance of the stretch down is to release tension through the back, and to develop topline when exercising young horses. Proper muscular development at this age will help the growth process as well as increase the ease of trainability.
The goal here is to keep close to the shoulder, keeping out of the peripheral vision, while keeping the horse forward. The handler’s stride should either match the horses, or be more forward than the horses. This is the aid of the handler to ask the horse to move more forward.
Once the handler has been able to get the forward momentum and proper handler positioning, the handler will bring the lash (or tip of the whip) to the horse’s muzzle, and slowly drop the hand and whip about 16 inches from the ground.
The handler must keep the body positioning, forward momentum, and position of the whip consistent until the exercise has ended. Four or five directions of straight line walking would suffice for a good stretch through the top line for a young horse.
This can also be done at the trot, but requires a little more practice as well as patience.
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