Yoga isn't just for horses anymore! Stretching before working with your horse, whether its simple groundwork, a trail ride or a competition, can help him focus and prevent injury.
The leg cross is a gentle, easy stretch for the shoulder, an area that can be a problem for horses. It also helps the chest and withers.
Apollo is very narrow across the chest, and when he is feeling tight he stands with his front hooves touching. This stretch helps him achieve a more balanced wider base.
How to do the leg crossPull one front leg straight forward, and without bending that leg, move it across the horse's body and set it down. This may be just a few inches closer to center than normal, or could be all the way across the midline. The amount of crossing will depend on your own horse's flexibility, and will improve with practice. Don't force him to cross further than is comfortable.
Encourage the horse to hold the position for at least a few seconds: once they learn what you're asking, and that it feels good, they will do this move more easily and hold it longer.
You can do this move immediately following the Front Leg Stretch, or by itself.
If you are able, work with a trained equine body worker (such as a chiropractor, masseuse, etc) familiar with horse yoga to make sure you are doing this safely and effectively. There are also many videos online to walk you through the process.