Petra Buckley of Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga has conducted a prospective longitudinal study of 84 Pony Club horses. Families kept a diary of ponies' behaviour over the course of a year and the ponies had a veterinary examination once a month.
Misbehaviour occurred on 3% of days when horses were ridden. Risk of misbehaviour was higher in horses that were fat and obese. No significant associations were found between back pain and misbehaviour. The data suggest a link exists between nutrition, body condition scores and misbehaviour, where higher body condition scores reflect dietary intake exceeding requirements and infrequent exercise, and fatter horses are more likely to misbehave. If so, body condition score could be used as a measure of adequacy of diet and exercise regimen, and high scores may be a warning of increased misbehaviour risks in Pony Club horses.
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