Effects of housing system on recovery after exercise in horses

Last changed: 30 June 2021

The aim of the proposed project is project is to examine whether recovery after competition in horses is affected by housing system.

The project is completed. read about the results in the article"Effects of Horse Housing System on Energy Balance during Post-Exercise Recovery".

Additional published article: Effects of horse housing on musculoskeletal system post-exercise recovery

Our hypothesis is that horses kept in a housing system where they can move freely in groups recover faster than horses kept in box stalls for most of the day. We performed such a study in 2015 and, in the proposed project, we intend to perform further analyses of blood samples collected in that previous study.

Eight Standardbred trotter geldings in training were included. The study was performed in a cross-over design with 21 days on each of two treatments, consisted of housing in active group housing and housing in box stalls. On two occasions per treatment, the horses performed an exercise test designed as a race. Blood samples were collected to be able to document work intensity and effects on recovery (lactate), energy balance (NEFA, urea), dehydration level (TPP) and muscle cell damage (ASAT, CK). We expect the study to provide valuable information on how housing system affects the recovery (metabolic, fluid balance and locomotion) of athletic horses. This information can be used in guidelines on good horse management. 

Do you want more information? Contact malin.connysson@wangen.se