August 13, 2009

Fitness and horses on pasture, part 2

As a funny coincidence to my last post, I got the Swedish equestrian magazine “Ridsport” in my post box yesterday (thanks Mum & Dad!) and they had an article around the same subject.

It referred to a study made by Patricia Graham-Tiers in Virginia.
She had looked at the general condition of horses on pasture compared to stabled horses with or without light training.

Before the study started, each horse’s general fitness was assessed and the horses were divided into three groups.
All were adult horses.

Group 1: Out on 100 acres (0.4 km2) hilly pasture 24/7. No training.
Group 2: In stable during day, out during night in a 0.05 acres paddock(240 sq yards/2000 m2). Light training 5 days a week.
Group 2: In stable during day, out during night in a 0.05 acres paddock. No training.

After two weeks they measured the heart rate, blood sugar values, temperature and fitness after work test.
Group 1 and group 2 showed similar values re fitness, but group 1 (pasture) showed in addition increased bone density (strengthened skeleton).

So the conclusion was that a large, hilly pasture keeps the horses sound and fit!
Nice huh?

Source: Pastured horses more fit, Virginia Intermont College.
Publiced by Patricia Graham-Tiers, PhD, of Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, Va


Kate said...

Very nice! And makes perfect sense.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's the smartest way to go. And it makes them more relaxed too. The closer we can get to have them live as nature intended the better off they are not only physically but mentally.

RuckusButt said...

I love when people research this stuff! I would have liked to see a group with paddock turnout and med-heavy training.