Murray State University

Poster Title

Management of University Equitation Horses and its Effect on Soundness

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Interest in equine programs has been increasing during the last decade. This has resulted in a greater use of horses in university programs across the country. Lameness limits the use of the horses, hampers both the health of the animals and teaching and learning opportunities for students, and is an added financial burden to the university. In university equitation programs, horses are often ridden much less frequently in the summer, as courses are typically only offered in the fall and spring semesters. Previous research has noted that changes in exercise programs sometimes result in increased lameness in some horses. The focus of this project was to monitor the exercise level of university horses throughout the summer and fall semester to determine whether there was a correlation between the sudden rise in horse workload in the fall and any lameness that might develop during that semester. Data was collected weekly from May through December, and included exercise frequency and level as well as any lameness that developed. Workload was categorized into four groups: light, moderate, heavy, and extensive based on the scale developed by the 2007 NRC Nutrient Requirements for Horses. Lameness was documented by experienced horsemen and addressed by a veterinarian as needed. Lack of a correlation between lameness and summer horse use would indicated that the university could continue its current equestrian management strategies. However, if a correlation is discovered, subsequent research would evaluate the implementation of a regular exercise program throughout the summer and its impact on subsequent equine lameness.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Management of University Equitation Horses and its Effect on Soundness

Interest in equine programs has been increasing during the last decade. This has resulted in a greater use of horses in university programs across the country. Lameness limits the use of the horses, hampers both the health of the animals and teaching and learning opportunities for students, and is an added financial burden to the university. In university equitation programs, horses are often ridden much less frequently in the summer, as courses are typically only offered in the fall and spring semesters. Previous research has noted that changes in exercise programs sometimes result in increased lameness in some horses. The focus of this project was to monitor the exercise level of university horses throughout the summer and fall semester to determine whether there was a correlation between the sudden rise in horse workload in the fall and any lameness that might develop during that semester. Data was collected weekly from May through December, and included exercise frequency and level as well as any lameness that developed. Workload was categorized into four groups: light, moderate, heavy, and extensive based on the scale developed by the 2007 NRC Nutrient Requirements for Horses. Lameness was documented by experienced horsemen and addressed by a veterinarian as needed. Lack of a correlation between lameness and summer horse use would indicated that the university could continue its current equestrian management strategies. However, if a correlation is discovered, subsequent research would evaluate the implementation of a regular exercise program throughout the summer and its impact on subsequent equine lameness.