The Alternative Horse Walker

The Alternative Horse Walker

I'm not a huge fan of horse walkers, but this is a novel idea. Sadly there are now horse walkers that give horses a mild electric shock if they don't move. This device is an interesting way of changing a horse's motivation to move.

Horse owners often seem to forget that naturally the horse would be constantly moving and grazing. Observational studies have found that they would move one of their feet every 3-5 seconds while grazing and of course horses would graze for up to 18 hrs a day. Recent research at Pennsylvania University has shown That's a lot of moving in a 24 hr period. Unfortunately when we confine horses in stables they may be standing still for hours on end. This will affect them physically and will no doubt cause all sorts of physical problems and owners then wonder why their horse is stiff and their performance is reduced. 

Some recent research has linked the use of horse walkers to lameness. Horses travel in straight lines and their bodies have not evolved to be constantly turning, so it makes sense there would be potential physical problems.

There is an interesting review of the use of horse walkers by Paul Farrington BVetMed MRCVS and Dr David Marlin BSc (Hons) PhD here.

There are, of course, the horses who break all the rules and beat the system...