From Natural Horse Magazine.
With a little practice and a handful of carrots, you can get your horse to do his own chiropractic work on himself. Well, it’s almost as good as chiropractic!
Many veterinarians, equine chiropractors, massage therapists and bodyworkers encourage carrot stretches for horses. Carrots are nutritious and horses love them and the benefits of stretching are many.
When a horse is encouraged to stretch for a carrot, he stretches his muscles and joints. He increases the circulation through the muscle tissue and frees up sticky fascia. He opens the spaces between vertebrae and loosens up other joints. All of this allows for increased flexibility and range of motion – and it feels good! Being flexible can prevent a lot of problems. Reaching and stretching to different areas of the body affect many different muscles and different areas of the spine.
Slow and gentle stretches will not cause injury and will be more effective. Don’t cross-tie or tie him; use a loose lead rope and a friend to hold him, if needed. At first, you may want to stand the horse beside a wall for the stretches to the side so he does not move the hindquarters away. He will soon get the idea to stay put and stretch instead.
Always start out the stretches by asking for only part of a stretch. Asking for too much too soon could cause the horse to overstretch and injure himself. Encourage your horse to stretch as far as he feels comfortable; don’t force him to stretch beyond his limits. Do this daily and notice how his flexibility gradually increases.