Some folks are obsessive about stretching their horse’s front legs before a ride. Others are concerned that you’re stretching muscles that aren’t warmed up yet. Have you ever wondered if it really does anything good’ The answer is yes, and you won’t hurt your horse by doing it.
Stretching the front legs after saddling smooths out any folds of skin that might have been pinched by the girth and also helps to settle the saddle into a position that will comfortably allow the horse to extend his legs. Passive stretching can also work wonders for horses with any low-grade but nagging problems in the shoulders, back or upper hindquarters that may be produce stiffness.
To stretch the front legs, stand in front of the horse and pick up one leg, so that the upper bone of the horse’s leg becomes nearly parallel to the ground. Don’t elevate the leg, just gently pull the leg forward. If the horse resists, relax the pull but don’t let go. Once the horse relaxes again, continue gently pulling the leg forward as far as it can comfortably go.