Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Study: Horses Able to Stay Fit When Kept at Pasture - Full Article

By Kristen M. Janicki, MS, PAS
Oct 01, 2013

There are many theories on how to best manage performance horses during periods with no forced exercise (whether after sustaining an injury or just for a rest period), and owners are often left with a dilemma: stall rest or pasture turn-out? To find the answer, a team of researchers recently completed a study evaluating how well horses maintain a certain fitness level with either pasture turnout or stall confinement.

Patricia M. Graham-Thiers, PhD, and a team of Virginia Intermont College researchers assigned 16 horses in light to moderate work to one of three groups: pasture turnout (P), stalled and exercised (E), or stalled with no exercise (S). During the 14-week study, horses in the P group roamed on approximately 100 acres of pasture, while horses in the S and E groups stayed in stalls during the day and were allowed access to a one-acre paddock at night.

The researchers exercised horses in the E group five days per week for one to two hours per day at the walk, trot, and canter. The team also used GPS units attached to the horses' halters to estimate the distance each horse traveled in a 24-hour span at intervals throughout the study period...

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