Study: Hungry Ponies May Want To Hibernate

If you’ve ever jokingly referenced having “the urge to hibernate” when the weather turns cold, you’re not alone! Interestingly, ponies may feel the same way—especially if they don’t have enough to eat.

Animals that hibernate experience a decrease in both their heart rate and their body temperature when winter weather hits; their metabolism also slows. Drs. Lea Brinkmann, Martina Gerken, Catherine Hambly, John Speakman and Alexander Riek created a study to se if ponies had similar physiological adaptations.

The research team used 10 Shetland ponies and studied them through the year, measuring each pony’s vital signs and using blood tests to check metabolic rates. During winter months, they fed all 10 ponies a diet that met 100 percent of their maintenance needs. They then divided the ponies into two groups: one group received meals that met tall their metabolic needs and the second group was put on a diet that provided only 60 percent of the pony’s energy requirements.

The team discovered that the ponies on the restricted winter diet had lower metabolic rates and their body temperature dropped. The scientists say that these changes, which are similar to changes hibernating animals experience, compensated for a decreased energy supply during the time of year when energy is needed to maintain warmth.

The pony’s behavior didn’t change, but the reduction in metabolic rate and temperature enabled them to minimize the effect of limited energy stores.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

The post Study: Hungry Ponies May Want To Hibernate appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.