[Product Review] Stretch Your Horse App

You might remember that some time ago, I attended a clinic on stretching for the sports horse. To be honest, I did a lot of stretching right after the clinic but the motivation slowly decreased. Until Ilene from Stretch Your Horse approached me and showed me her app.

Me: watching the video, Hafl looking for treats....

The Stretch Your Horse App is a video-based app with a number of different stretches that can be easily done by yourself - even without having had a hands-on clinic before. Buying the app gives you access to three videos: one, the introduction, is mandatory to watch. Without that, you cannot watch any other video. The two other videos are on the abducted lateral bent front leg stretch and how to successfully and safely use treats in your stretching routine. 

The app menu

Once you bought the videos, they appear in the My Videos tab. The Video Library shows you all the videos available. I think it is very important and a good thing that you have to watch the introduction first where basic information is given like the four primary reasons for stretching your horse. On top of that, Ilene explains the stretching guidelines like safety first, when stretches should be performed, how you can prevent your horse from cheating, how often and how long you should do the stretches. I like that in her guidelines she also stresses that not every stretch is for every horse and that in case of doubt, should see an equine healthcare professional. It is the same with stretches for humans, whenever there is a history in illnesses or weaknesses, you need to consult an expert first. As Hafl has no problems, I felt confident that I could choose from the variety of stretches with no limitations. 


You can find the stretching guidelines written down as well when choosing the Stretching Guidelines tab in the menu. 

The guidelines which are also included in the first, mandatory video

There is another tab in the menu called Horse Anatomy that I strongly recommend to take a look at before starting your search for appropriate videos. In the pictures included in this section, muscles sections are explained in an overview. On top of that, detailed information on what stretch to choose for your horse can be found online on the Stretch Your Horse website. With that, you should be good to go to choose the right stretch for your horse – you can never go wrong with the ones listed as universally beneficial basic and advanced.

Muscle overview in the Horse Anatomy tab

When opening the app and choosing the My Videos tab, you see your included videos on top ("Free" tab). The mandatory video is the first one – remember, you cannot watch any other video without this one. The other videos that you bought (as well as the ones in the Video Library) are categorized by hind end, core/back and front end. For a better overview, the categories can be collapsed. 

Release after the abducted lateral bent front leg stretch

The videos are organized as list with a small picture/player icon on the left and text on the right when you look at the videos in the My Video tab. Personally, I would like to see a grid with bigger pictures instead as I am very visual – to be fair, in the Video Library tab. 

Totally relaxed in between the stretches

Personally, I would like to see a grid with bigger pictures instead as I am very visual – to be fair, in the Video Library the picture is without the play button and thus, easier to see. For some stretches, the title is pretty long – one simple tap and you get the video name and description and a bigger picture. In this description, the muscle groups affected are listed as well – a good thing is to print the Horse Anatomy pictures to have a better visualization. Again, using the Choosing a Stretch recommendations on the Stretch Your Horse website help a lot when choosing the right video for your horse.

Details of one video

The videos are of very good quality and Ilene speaks slowly enough and very clearly - even for me as a non-native speaker they were easy to follow. She uses some Latin terms to name the muscles that each stretch addresses – don’t be afraid though, it is not at all difficult to follow. Often you see the stretch from one point of view followed by a second one. That is especially valuable for stretches where for example the hind leg needs to be brought over to the other side. 

One of the farriers stretches for the hind end

Without that rear view, one might not know how far the leg should be brought over to the other side. In addition, Ilene shows alternatives to the specific stretch like lifting the leg a little higher for a more intense stretch. There is also an explanation on what can go wrong and how to solve issues (i.e. horses trying to cheat – Hafl, we are talking about YOU!).
Watching the next video

The mix of videos is good and together with the information in the Horse Anatomy tab and the information on the corresponding website, one should be able to find the right stretches. In case of doubt, the universally beneficial stretches are a good point to start. I would love to see some kind of color coding within the stretches that would match the horse anatomy to make it easier to find the stretch that you are looking for.

Tail pull stretch - perfect parallel legs....

I would suggest that you watch the videos (each around six minutes) at home before heading to the barn such that you have already an idea on how to use them on your horse. You can watch the videos as well when you are offline, though. Each video lasts between 4 and 7 minutes and I experienced Hafl to start eating my breeches while I was watching the video – you better be already prepared before starting the stretches. Soon you will know all your stretches and just come back to videos in case of a variation of a stretch or a problem solving. 

Stretch your ribs
Hafl really likes the stretches though you can feel when it is hard for him to fulfill them. He definitely loves stretches where treats are involved and offers to do them even without you asking for it. As I am investing a lot of time now in stretching myself, thanks to Ilene stretching will be back on Hafl's routine as well.

No intent to run away while I am looking for the next stretch

I was skeptical at first but was surprised how easily I could follow the steps. During this review, I talked a lot to Ilene and sent her all my feedback. She was very open to input and it actually felt like working on some improvements together rather than just reviewing an app.

And Hafl was so relaxed during the stretches that I assume he approved the app, too. Thanks Ilene for having me review this app, I hope that our collaboration was as helpful to you as it was to me. And now, let’s do some stretches! The app is available for iPhone and Android!

Hafl's favourites: carrot stretches
He does them even without carrots

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