Study: Horses Living In Herds Recover From Exercise More Rapidly

Horses tend to bounce back faster after hard work when they’re turned out with buddies rather than kept in stalls.

Drs. Malin Connysson, Marie Rhodin and Anna Jansson, all with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, used eight Standardbred horses to determine the effects of housing on post-exercise recovery.

The horses were kept in small herds or isolated in box stalls for 21 days, then they were switched to the other housing method. On days seven and 14, they underwent an exercise test. The researchers collected blood before, during and multiple times after the exercise test.

The results showed that after exercise, horses that were stalled and alone ate less than horses living in a herd outdoors. In addition, the horse’s plasma non-esterified fatty acids decreased more quickly in the horses living in a herd. These acids indicate the horse’s post-exercise recovery rate.

The scientists concluded that horses living outside in groups recovered from exercise more rapidly; outdoor living also positively impacted the horse’s appetite and energy levels.

Read the study here.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

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