Science of Fitness


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NEFC offers scientifically-proven fitness and rehab modalities that support the overall well-being and athleticism of every horse. We’ve compiled several articles below that detail the benefits of our equipment and the university research supporting these benefits. Our goal is to make these options available, accessible, and sustainable for every rider and horse regardless of discipline or ability level.

Please explore the below research to better understand the science of equine fitness.

Water Treadmill

Did you know?

A 30-minute brisk walk with water just over the carpus is the cardio-vascular and muscle development equivalent of a 5-mile gallop.

Thoroughbreds conditioned on water treadmills increased VO2max by 16% and speed by 17.4%.

Water treadmill increased both peak oxygenation and speed whereas dry treadmill did not.

At increasing water depths, there were significant increases in flexion and rotation of the back. At the highest water levels, there was reduced bending of the back. After 10 days, horses exhibited more bending of the back.

Varying water height and speed affects the workload associated with WT exercise. The conditions utilized in this study were associated with low intensity exercise. Water height had a greater impact on exercise intensity than speed.

Exercise on a water treadmill has come to have great relevance in rehabilitation and training centers for sport horses.

Exercise on an underwater treadmill is useful for increasing the range of motion of various joints of horses during rehabilitation and that the depth of water affects the amount of flexion and extension of joints.

Walking in high water causes cranial thoracic extension and thoracolumbar flexion when compared with walking in water at hoof depth. This postural change should be considered when designing rehabilitation programs for horses with back and/or hindlimb pathology.

3D Oscillating Plate

Improved size and symmetry of equine back muscles. Whole body vibration (WBV) has been used as an adjunctive therapy to improve the strength and size of paraspinal muscles as well as postural control.

Results indicate that whole body vibration can be used as a non-invasive, safe and non labor-intensive therapeutic modality to accelerate hoof growth in the horse.