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  1. #1

    Post Article on Exercise and Reproduction (in mares)

    A friend showed me this interesting article and I wanted to share with all the other breeders out there!


    Exercise Affects Reproductive Ability in Horses

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 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 reproductive cycle.

    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 early pregnancy is still an area that needs further research. Researchers are looking to study embryo quality because advancing technology has allowed embryo transfer 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 embryo development," said Mortensen.

    These findings could have implications for human pregnancy.

    "While many studies in women have shown intense exercise 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
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    2 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2009


    Interesting - I'm having a vet school friend grab the entire study, so I can see some numbers. I'm interested to read in detail.
    Expecting 2017 foals by Vagabond de la Pomme, Cornet Obolensky, Zirocco Blue, Catoki and Christian.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Sunshine State


    Interesting! Thanks for the article.
    Would lower quality embryos be less likely to continue to develop/implant successfully?

    I wonder how long a mare would need to be rested to show the benefits seen in the control group for embryo harvest since the main draw to ET is that it allows working mares to continue in training. Can't wait to hear more on the subject.
    The rebel in the grey shirt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2011


    It would make sense. My criminology professor taught a section on prenatal/early child. High levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) cause issues in human pregnancies (brain development, ADHD etc).

    I wish I could remember more from that part of the course.

    ETA: I wonder if a horse fetus exposed to high levels of cortisol for longer periods of time would also show similar issues as a human fetus.

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