A Survey of Pennsylvania Horse Management: Part Two - Exercise

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Understanding the frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise is important for determining the optimal diet and management of horses. The objective of the study was to characterize the exercise management of horses in Pennsylvania. An online survey was distributed from February 27th to August 31st, 2020. Respondents were asked to place their horse in an exercise category, as well as report on frequency and duration of exercise and time spent at each gait. Nonparametric statistics (mdn=median) and tests were used when data were not normally distributed. Of the 470 horses, 68% were regularly exercised. The exercised horses were classified as 49% (135/275) in light, 41% (113/275) in moderate, and 12% (32/275) in heavy/very heavy exercise. Of those exercised, 43% (120/278) were ridden recreationally (not used for competition). The median minutes per week spent exercising was 180 minutes (IQR=183). The average number of exercise sessions per week was 3.6 ± 2.2. Horses in heavy/very heavy (mdn=220 min, IQR=272) and moderate exercise (mdn=180 min, IQR=180) spent more minutes exercising per week compared to light exercise (mdn=120 minute, IQR=180; P< .05). Total number of exercise sessions completed per week differed between horses in light (mdn=2 sessions, IQR=3), moderate (mdn=4 sessions, IQR=2), and heavy/very heavy exercise (mdn=6 sessions, IQR=2; P < .05). Horses were exercised for a similar duration and frequency per week compared to previous studies. Some challenges exist for placing horses in NRC exercise categories based on self-reports only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104186
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Equine


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