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Category: Independant Studies

  1. Some of the stretches horse have been seen doing with the HayGrazer Play

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    More Stretches on

    Head and Neck

    #16 Chin to Chest Stretch
    This is an excellent stretch for the trapezius cervicis, cervical rhomboids and splenius muscles of the neck.

    #17 Extended Neck Forward Stretch
    This is a great stretch for the rectus capitis dorsalis and lateralis, multifidus cervicis, rhomboids, splenius and trapezius muscles.
    #18 Extended Neck Forward Twist Stretch
    This stretch helps relax and release tight neck muscles from the base of the shoulder to the area near the first cervical vertebrae including the scalenus, rectus capitis dorsalis and lateralis, brachiocephalicus and multifidus cervicis.
    #19 Head on the Diagonal Behind the Knee Without and With a Twist Stretch
    This stretch helps create flexibility in the neck and the area in front of the scapula (shoulder blade) by stretching the scalenus, multifidus cervicis, brachiocephalicus, rectus capitis dorsalis and lateralis and serratus muscles.


    #20 Lateral Extended Neck Stretch
    This is a wond
    erful stretch for the muscles of the neck including the multifidus cervicis, brachiocephalicus, rhomboideus cervicis and the scalenus.

    #21 Lateral Extended Neck Twist Stretch
    Once you and your horse have mastered the Lateral Extended Neck stretch, learn how to add a twist to that stretch to relax the muscles near the first cervical vertebrae such as the rectus capis lateeralis as well as stretch other neck muscles such as the splenius, scalenus and multidifus cervicis.
    #22 Neck Hug Stretch
    This is an excellent stretch for the scalenus, trapezius, multifidus cervicis and brachiocephalicus muscles of the neck.

  2. How do i measure frustration in my horse?

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    We all want  to know how to tell if our horse is getting frustrated in the stable.


    Hartpury College recently carried out some initial research on small holed haynets and the HayGazer Play. They found that horses eating from a small holed hay nets had much higher frustration than a horse eating from the ground and in some cases brought about unwanted behaviours.


    The same study showed that eating from a HayGrazer Play decreased the frustration more than eating from the floor. But why? Its is thought the horses use their lips to find the holes then eat between the webbing on a HayGrazer Play which is similar behavior to how they would graze naturally. Using a small holed haynet the horse tries to take a large clump of hay and the string stops the hay coming out which increases chew rates, frustration and doesn’t slow the horses eating time down significantly.


    How do you measure the frustration of your horse? This is done by counting the number of blinks per minute, using a clicker which can be downloaded to your phone. Previous work by Karson et al., (1980) has shown that blink rates alter according to dopamine production by the central nervous system, therefore measuring blink rate is a good way to assess stress levels in stabled horses.


    Horses can vary on their relaxed blink rate but the average horse is around 15-18 blinks per minute while weaving horse or horses showing stress related coping mechanisms tend to be about 24-27 blinks per min.


  3. Should we be feeding from a small holed hay net?

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    Research from several universities across the UK have been showing small holed hay nets do not significantly slow horses eating down more than from the floor and increase frustration which may be causing unwanted behavioural issues.


    So how do I slow my horses eating down?

    Research from Writtle college showed the horse slowed down more by placing haynets around the stable this slowed the horse down and encouraged movement more like natural grazing. You never see a horse eat from one part of the field they move around foraging.


    Hartpury College found the small holed hay nets slowed their horses down a little bit but not as much as a HayGrazer Play. This is because the horse uses their lips to find the holes again more like natural grazing , but what was most interesting was the small holed hay nets increased chew rate and increased frustration and in some cases brought about unwanted behaviours. Eating from the floor lowered the frustration but the HayGrazer Play had the lowest frustration rate from all methods.


    Why is the Play so good?


    • The horse searches for the different shaped and sized holes keeping them mentally stimulated and more natural
    • Teaches the horse to eat in between the webbing rather than string from stopping the hay coming out, this makes them search more and much kinder on their teeth and lips whilst reducing snatching.
    • Top half is slow feed so the horse can get the initial bit of hay out quicker when they are hungry and as the play empties it turns to a trickle feeder.
    • Hang two up for optimum stable boredom relief and slow feeding methods.
    • Safer to hand much lower, deceases frustration and kinder on the muscles.