Horses on the Move

Readings were taken every five seconds for 6.5 days.

What they found is that horses in the wild move on average about 17.1 kilometres (10.6 miles) per day and can walk for 12 hours non-stop to a water source. Domesticated horses on pasture only moved about 6.4 kilometres (4 miles) per day, regardless of the size or structure of the pasture. Movement was significantly less for horses in stalls given turn-out time in a yard. These horses only averaged about one kilometre (0.6 miles) per day.

Researcher Brian Hampson said “Domestically-kept horses generally move very little in comparison to the horse in nature. This lack of movement can cause and contribute to poor quality foot health and serious systemic problems”.

He also said “Many ailments can be managed by allowing or causing the horse to exercise. We should be aiming for a similar activity levels for the horses in our care”.

Brian researched several pasture patterns such as the ‘racetrack’, the maze, the spiral, and fencing-off shade trees. All these pasture configurations actually reduced movement rather than improving it.

The best pasture type for movement was the standard, open pasture with four fences.

Oh well it seems that you’ll just have to work your horse more often or maybe buy one of those really expensive walking carousels!