A preliminary investigation into the effect of pony age and rider weight on the mechanical nocioceptive thresholds of the epaxial muscles and heart rate variability of Exmoor ponies


Rider weight as a percentage of equine weights have attracted considerable interest from a welfare perspective. The impact of rider weight on different pony age groups has not been explored. This study investigated the impact of rider weight on epaxial muscle sensitivity to pain and heart rate variability of ridden Exmoor ponies from different age groups.

Highlights:

  • Ponies <17years experienced an increased sensitivity to pain of the epaxial muscle by all riders 2hrs post-ride.
  • Ponies >18 years of age experienced a reduced sensitivity to pain of the epaxial muscles following exercise but increased sensitivity after 2hours rest by middleweight/heavyweight riders.
  • HRV as a measure of physiological stress was not affected by the age of pony.

Authors: Payne J., Routledge N., Charlton S., Hunnisett A.

Presented at: Animal Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Conference, April 2024.

Abstract



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