Turn up the Turnout
With the long nights drawing in, and a sudden shift to the colder weather, it’s easy to see how we might be tempted to reduce turnout time for our beloved horses and ponies – particularly in favour of a warm and cosy stable! But a recent study has shown that longer turnout could actually reduce the risk of equine injury.
The benefits of turnout have long been recognised. Not only does the constant roaming contribute to good health and fitness, excellent circulation, and reduce the risk of Colic, but the companionship associated with being outdoors and part of a herd is said to prevent boredom and reduce stress-related behaviour.
Our Remus residents spend much of their days wandering the pastures with their pals, as well as being supported by our environmental enrichment programme. We have always recognised the importance of providing our horses with the opportunity to behave as naturally as possible.
But now a six-year study from Centenary University Equestrian Center in New Jersey, has shown that horses turned-out for more than 12 hours per day, had a massive 25% lower instance of soft tissue injuries. The research across 146 non-elite performance horses was inspired by the lead researcher’s own veterinary practice observations. Jesslyn Bryk-Lucy noticed that horses who had a more natural, outdoor lifestyle seemed to require less veterinary care.
Scientists believe there could be a number of reasons behind the findings of this research. Horses may have benefited from increased conditioning of the tendons and ligaments from simply being in a more natural environment, or it could be related to change in behaviour caused by longer turnout.
There is undoubtedly further research to be done in this area, but this study goes one step further in demonstrating that horses are happiest and healthiest outdoors!
You can read more about the findings on Horse & Hound here.
As you can imagine, our costs for the animals increase significantly during the winter. If you are able to make a donation or perhaps purchase a treat for one of them, it would be massively appreciated!