Exercise affects reproductive ability in horses

December 5, 2012

In the latest issue of the Journal of Animal Science, researchers at Clemson University and the University of Florida examine the impact of exercise on mare reproductive health and embryo transfer.

In the study, researchers divided light-horse mares into three research groups: no exercise (control), partial-exercise and full-exercise. Their goal was to measure reproductive blood flow and embryo number and quality. Partial-exercise mares were moderately exercised for 30 minutes daily during the periovulatory period and rested after ovulation for seven days. Full-exercise mares were exercised for 30 minutes daily throughout the .

Results from the study showed that exercise induced greater cortisol concentrations in horses. Cortisol has been shown to have effects on reproduction.

Embryo recovery rates were reduced in exercised horses compared to the control group. There was no significant difference in embryo recovery rates for partial-exercise and full exercised groups, but the partial-exercised group had the lowest embryo quality score.

"This led us to conclude that exercise was just as detrimental, if not more so, to the time period just prior to and during fertilization," said Christopher Mortensen of the University of Florida and one of the authors of the study.

The impact of exercise on is still an area that needs further research. Researchers are looking to study embryo quality because advancing technology has allowed to become a vital part of the horse industry.

"What we hypothesize is the reduced hormone concentrations may be having an effect on the mare's oocytes, meaning they are not as 'competent' and have a reduced ability to be fertilized, or if fertilized, compromised ," said Mortensen.

These findings could have implications for human pregnancy.

"While many studies in women have shown can be detrimental to female pregnancy, there are virtually no studies examining maternal exercise and effects on the early developing embryo. Furthermore, there are few studies examining stress and the female reproductive blood flow response," said Mortensen

More information: The article, "Impact of moderate exercise on ovarian blood flow and early embryonic outcomes in mares" can be read in full at journalofanimalscience.org

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

Insect DNA extracted, sequenced from black widow spider web

November 25, 2015

Scientists extracted DNA from spider webs to identify the web's spider architect and the prey that crossed it, according to this proof-of-concept study published November 25, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Charles ...

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.