Date of Graduation

Summer 2016


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Gary Webb


horse, protein, exercise, topline, musculature

Subject Categories



This study was designed to examine the effects of exercise on the musculature of the back of ten horses which are used to teach beginning through advanced horsemanship. This was executed by implementing a strict exercise protocol, examining body composition changes and subjecting them to a standard exercise test at the beginning and end of the experimental period in order to determine change in aerobic conditioning. Horses were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups for six weeks; Purina SuperSportTM (40% CP) and MFA Easy Keeper™ (32% CP). Body weight (BW), body condition score (BCS), rump fat, topline evaluation score (TES), belly circumference, gaskin circumference, and area of the back at the withers, back, and loin were examined during the study. Significant treatment difference (P < 0.05) for change in BCS and rump fat and a trend for a treatment difference in BW change did occur. All other body parameters showed no diet affect. Variables measured during the SETs and recovery included heart rate (HR), respirations rate (RR), and rectal temperature (RT) as well as arena ambient temperature and wet bulb globe temperature. Statistical analysis was done with the MiniTab®; GLM procedure. No significant treatment effects on HR during the SET, end of SET, and 1, 5, 10, and 15 minutes post-SET; RT at beginning and end of SET were found. Significant horse effects on RR at 1, 5, 10, and 15 minute recovery (P < 0.05) were found. Protein supplementation and exercise did not have any effect on the musculature of the back in horses.


© Taryn Elizabeth Smith

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