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Carrot Stretch

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

Opening the side body by stretching circulates and stretches the back, the ribcage and innumerable elements of soft tissue.

How to:

  1. 1. From Barrel Horse, inhale

  2. 2. Gently stretch sideways

  3. 3. Exhale and stretch through back

  4. 4. Inhale into the tension in ribs, release

Don't do:

  1. Force spine out and down

  2. Hold breath in rigid stretch

  3. Be stiff, asymetrical

  4. Let lower back drop or strain

This is the pose we will build on the same type of side-body movement and stretch as Over-Under, but in a Barrel Horse pose. It takes the lower pressure off the lower back since it is not in a seated position. Very similar to how a horse would stretch and hold his body to the side to reach around for a carrot, we can simulate the same position with some movements on top of barrel horse pose. We are able to get a really good stretch in the ribs, back, spine and hips; thus providing circulation to all these areas. We are able to move from movement to movement with breath as a partner of facilitating the circulation.

Ride and Apply:

With all this stretching your might have to ditch your body inversion equipment. No more needing to hang upside down from your feet, if you are consistently trying to stretch and align your back in healthy movement patterns. The mobility we gain by supporting a stretch from our crown and tail bone bending toward one another in a "C" shape, parallel to the ground, is not a way we would move in the saddle. By adding this stretch into our work-out it helps us not be so stiff and stuck in our lower back or ribcage.

Try it:

Try to set up your phone or mirror on this one. Evaluating where your naturally out of habit want to rest your weight (forward/back/ or to one side or in one hip) can give your feedback on your posture when you ride. How you default in posture, and how you default in correcting posture, will give you empathy on how you correct movement in the saddle. It can be very easy to let most of your weight sink into your wrists or hips - imagine how challenging it is for a horse to move evenly and square? When you do have to correct any alignment/movement or posture try to do it from the inside out. Do not nit-pick yourself or your horse, but instead isolate and go piece by piece with peace. Breathing in then out, engaging the core first and then lengthening everything from there is a healthier pattern.

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