Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Heat affects speed of horses more than humans - study
The researchers analysed three international races in which humans and horses were pitted against each other.
Scientists analyse the effect of ambient temperature on running speeds.

A study by researchers at the University of Roehampton suggests that the speed of horses deteriorates in hot weather faster than it does in human beings.

Scientists analysed the effect of ambient temperature on the running speeds of humans and horses in races where the two species were pitted directly against each other.

Race times from three ‘Man v. Horse’ international races involving 260 humans and 358 horses with riders on courses of over 30 km in length were analysed. Researchers also looked at ambient race-day temperatures from archived weather records at the nearest weather station of similar elevation.

They found that for every 1ºC increase in ambient temperature on the day of a race, the pace of the horses decreased by on average 0.11 km/h. For humans, it decreased by 0.07 km/h - a 36 per cent smaller decrease.

At the highest race day temperatures, the quickest human runners were nearly as fast as the fastest horses.

Commenting on the findings, professor Lewis Halsey from the University of Roehampton and co-author independent researcher Dr Caleb Bryce, said: “Horses have superior cardiovascular systems to humans so it is not surprising that they are typically faster than humans in a head-to-head race. Yet the time gap between the two closes on hotter days.

“This finding was sometimes subtle but always apparent in each of the three race events we analysed. In simple terms, humans sweat more readily so they have an in-built cooling system which mitigates the effect of the heat. Horses are bigger, and don’t dump heat as effectively.”

They continued: “Although it’s a dying tradition, some human populations have hunted successfully by out-enduring their prey, running down large animals over the course of many hours in the heat of the day. It’s contentious as to whether humans are adapted specifically to do this, but the man versus horse data does suggest that humans are relatively well equipped to endure long-distance running at high temperatures.”

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk