Kickboard for shoulder stretch and freedom?

Can anyone tell me what this is called and maybe point to any videos on the proper way to use it?

I’ve never seen or used a “kick board” but have done the stretches easily without one. Here’s a good video with instructions on how to do the stretches without a board -

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Yes. That’s Tristan Tucker. Here’s a random video where he briefly discusses its use:

Thank you. I’m familiar with those stretches but I think this has a bit different function.

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Thank you!! Going to take a look now

Awesome. Thx.

If anyone else has any videos, I’d love to see them.

I’ve taught my horses the Spanish walk to encourage more shoulder freedom (and fun).


Long ago, it was standard for us to teach colts as we started them under saddle the series of movements that include stretching, bowing, kneeing laying down, sitting up and then standing, also including in those the spanish walk, easily taught.

The theory is that it was teaching colts to listen, that humans had goals, and promote a work ethic.
We used to say an active mind was a wonderful thing, including that of horses and all those tricks were one good way to get colts working with you with purpose they understood.

Later, working under a different program, the instructor several times National dressage champion, I was told NOT to teach spanish walk, it was a disuniting movement and contrary to the muscle memory we want to promote in dressage horses.

Now, that is different than stretching exercises to loosen a leg/shoulder, like after saddling.
We did that, just not making such a whole working movement for horses where we expected their body to work as one, in collection and extensions.
If you watch horses in spanish walk, it is a bit of an awkward way to move for them, not fluid.

That was 50+ years ago, wonder what today’s practices may be, if teaching any movements that disunite horse’s parts while moving is still considered inadequate.

I’m sure there are all sorts of opinions on Spanish walk if you ask more than 1 person! But I had 2 GP trainers suggest that I train it, so I do. It has not caused any issues and made teaching passage an easy next step.


Thank you for your answer.
I do have trouble imagining why the spanish walk would promote an easier way to teach passage.
That idea will take some thinking to accept, hard to figure the connection there.

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I start teaching Spanish walk from the ground. Once confirmed, my trainer walks alongside and cues while I’m riding. We concentrate on keeping the walk pure and forward. Later, trainer can walk alongside while we’re doing collected trot. Add the “wiggle whip out in front of front legs” and horse thinks to hold legs up/out a split second longer while doing a slower sitting trot to bridge the trot~passage move. It helps develop proprioception without using more rein or intense aids, in my mind.


Interesting, thank you for explaining further.


I too have had a BNT suggest teaching the SW. I haven’t done it bc I really haven’t had a chance to look into it but I probably will this winter. I’ll also start the kick/stretch board as I like the stretch it offers the horse.

Do you have any good videos on starting SW you could share?

Simple to teach sp, first have the horse working well on hand, whatever that may be for you, leading exercises, longing, round pen, horsemanship.
Part of that is to have the horse raise a foot on command, is a static exercise, works also when a horse is hard to catch, they can’t lift a foot and not stand there for you.

Now horse knows to move forward when asked even if you are not or are also walking alongside and to lift a foot when asked.

While finishing other work, the horse now knowing to move on forward as you ask, add to lift a foot, once the horse is responsive on hand to light indications, moving over, one or the other foot, you pick one time horse is a bit tired but still willing and ease up to a wall and start asking the horse to move forward measuredly.
Once the horse understand, you start asking to lift the foot on the inside a bit every step as it walks, a bit more and more, working very little on it, a few times and move to other, so they don’t start offering more, like pawing, as many will that try so hard to please.

You do that over several days, on both sides, as the horse is steady about it, you can ask for more elevation and forward, move your cue to a light tap on the elbow, is what you will use once onboard, transitioning to just moving leg a bit forward and lifting your toe on that side as a starting cue, the horse then to keep it up until asked to stop.

Most colts learn so fast you have to remember to quit, not let them get overambitious and messy with their feet, is about precision, eventually.

Curious, we had some colts that were watching other horses spanish walking, or us teaching another, seem to catch so well they were practically offering it first time on the wall, seems to be a monkey see/monkey do thing for some horses?

Hope that helps.

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I think if you just search on YouTube some videos will come up. I watched my trainer teach Iberian stallions how to do it, so I didn’t use videos. Basically you can have your horse in the barn aisle or an arena. Tickle their front leg anywhere below the knee with the soft lash of a dressage whip. They’ll eventually react (as if it’s a bug), by lifting that leg. Even if they slightly stomp or move it by accident, give lots of praise and maybe a tiny treat. Repeat request a few times and ANY positive response gets a praise or tidbit. Do this a couple different times when you’re working with them, whether before you get on or after grooming, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t do it for long periods and keep it playful and fun. I’d start with one leg first and when it gets pretty reliable, then move to the other side. It might take a couple days or weeks, but stick with it. If the horse bends at the knee and picks up it’s hoof as if you’re going to pick it out vs lifting it slightly forward, you can cluck and give a tug on the leadrope with the tickle aid so he steps forward to give the idea. When they’re good doing several repeated steps on the L leg and then R leg, you can stand on their normal leading/left side and tickle their R and L cannon bones alternating while leading forward. If they get stuck, wanting to stop and lift a leg vs maintaining the walk rhythm, you’ll want to have a helper to aid from behind for a while. Good luck!