Teach Your Horse The Belly Lift Stretch

by Lisa Carter on September 11, 2014

Teaching your horse the belly lift stretch for topline development and abdominal strengthening

This is a really simple and easy stretch to teach your horse.  It’s a great stretch for horses with weak, sagging toplines.  It allows the horse to mobilize the thoracic vertebra vertically and help to strengthen those abdominal muscles that support the “core” and allow the horse to lift the back and collect up.  Excellent for horses of all ages and level of fitness, but extremely helpful for the geriatric horses and broodmares whose tendancy is to lose abdominal tone with age. 

The information in this article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any condition or illness.  Nor is it meant replace proper veterinary care. It is meant for educational purposes only.  Always consult your chosen veterinary professional before starting your horse or other animal on any therapy. 

Lisa Carter, Certified Equine Massage Therapist, with her Arabian mare Siofhice.  www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com.Lisa Carter is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist (CEMT), with multiple certifications from several different equine bodywork schools.  She incorporates her knowledge and experience with Parelli Natural Horsemanship, equine bodywork, using essential oils for animals and as a veterinary technician to provide her clients with the resources they need to make informed decisions for their horses.  She encourages and facilitates network building between equine health care professionals, working together to find the best combination of therapies to meet the needs of the “whole horse”.  

Are you ready to get better results with your horse?  Put your equine health care team to work so you and your horse can be doing what you were meant to.  Click here to get started!

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Adara September 13, 2014 at 10:41 am

I am doing this with my horse.  He has a VERY bad say back and it has helped. =D

Lisa Carter September 14, 2014 at 7:04 am

So glad to hear you are getting results!  It’s a great stretch 🙂


Karen M Macias September 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Going to try this with my 26 y/o gelding;)

Lisa Carter September 16, 2014 at 6:18 am

It’s a great exercise for the older horse Karen.  Hope it works well for you 🙂



Tracey July 7, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Great video! I have a big draft cross who I would really like to get to do this stretch. So far I have had no luck with getting him lift or stretch at all – he doesn't particularly like having his belly rubbed or scratched, but he's not inclined to do anything other than give me a dirty look when I try.  Any tips for getting these big horses to stretch? I feel like he has overall bad posture when "at rest" and I would LOVE to help him with this! Thank you 🙂

Lisa Carter July 8, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Hi Tracey,

You can try starting out with just asking him to back slowly with his head down, then gradually move to backing up slightly inclined hills (again moving slowly to encourage him to do it with his head down) and start building his abdominals that way.  Then you may find that as he gets stronger, he’ll be more included to do the lift.  Doing hill therapy either on small hills or over cavaletti can help too. 



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