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Study highlights additional benefits of strip grazing
"We believe this finding could be useful when deciding if and how those prone to laminitis should have access to grass” - Clare Barfoot.
Researchers assess whether eating less by strip grazing means moving less.

Eating less by strip grazing doesn't automatically mean moving less, according to new research.

An essential part of many weight management programmes, previous research has show that strip-grazed ponies gain significantly less weight than ponies with free access to restricted grazing over a 28-day period. 

In this new study, a team from SPILLERS and their research collaborators set out to see if eating less as result of strip grazing also means moving less in the field. 

Researchers first analysed the behavioural data from the previous study to evaluate the effects of 'activity levels' of ponies strip grazing individually. They also evaluated a second study, conducted in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College, to assess the effects of strip grazing of ponies turned out in groups.

During this second study, the team randomly assigned ponies to one of two adjacent paddocks. The paddocks were similar in size, had been managed in a similar way, and had equal amounts of very limited grazing available. 

Using electric fencing, the researchers split 'Paddock B' into seven strips, giving the ponies access to one additional fresh strip of grazing per day. In 'Paddock A', the pones were given access to the entire paddock for the whole of the study. 

For both studies, the team assessed activity levels and behaviour using a combination of direct observation and activity monitors attached to ponies' headcollars.

Clare Barfoot, marketing and research and development director at Mars Horsecare, commented: “Similar amounts of time were spent grazing, standing and locomoting (which included walking, trotting and cantering) within the different groups and encouragingly, performance of behaviours related to stress and frustration were low in both studies too.

“While we were unsurprised to see that the strip grazed ponies preferred to graze the newly accessible grass and spent most time grazing in the four hours after the fence had been moved, we believe this finding could be useful when deciding if and how those prone to laminitis should have access to grass.”

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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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News Shorts
Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.