Conditioning Horses on Water Treadmills
Manufacturers initially developed equine water treadmills for rehabilitation, but over the years they’ve gained popularity for conditioning horses. Despite their increased use, little research exists documenting how water treadmills affect horse fitness. And the research that does exist doesn’t support specific exercise intensity and duration for training.
To investigate, a team from the University of Calgary and Washington State University schools of veterinary medicine set up a study in which they evaluated fitness in horses trained both on treadmills with and without water. Canadian student Persephone Greco-Otto, who’s currently pursuing a doctoral degree in veterinary medical science, presented the team’s results at the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas.
Water treadmills have a revolving belt that horses walk (or trot) on in an encasement that seals and fills with water. The water adds resistance, increasing exercise intensity without increasing the belt speed or
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