Keep fit to reduce laminitis risk
An Australian study has shown that light exercise can help to reduce the risk of laminitis for horses and ponies. It’s a worry we all have at this time of year, but, while we can become obsessed with restricting grazing and getting out the weight tape every week, are we overlooking the need for simple exercise?
Busy holiday schedules and hotter summers can see our horses and ponies left out in the field and not ridden as often as we’d like. This study by the University of Melbourne has shown that even gentle exercise can make a real difference.
They studied two groups of horses; a diet-only group and an exercised-only group. High levels of insulin have been linked to laminitis and the diet-only group showed both lower insulin levels and weight loss at the end of the trial. The exercised-only group didn’t lose weight but had improved insulin sensitivity, which means they needed to produce less insulin to control blood sugar, therefore reducing their laminitis risk.
So keep an eye on your horse’s weight and get out for those evening hacks where you can. If your horse is retired or not ridden, like our residents here at Remus, then some walking in hand could be beneficial.
You can read more about the trial in this Horse & Hound article.
If you’re interested, you can also read our previous blog on the subject here: Laminitis Alert for Horse Owners and/or download this article from Horse Magazine which featured our research work.