Air speed to increase rate of cool out for horses after intense exercise

Staci McGill, Morgan Hayes, Claire Burnham

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Racing, endurance, and three-day eventing all require horses to expend tremendous amounts of physical effort as they perform their athletic feats. When horses perform in athletic competitions the results are impressive speed and endurance, the consequences of this speed and endurance is the production of substantial amounts of heat as the metabolism works in overdrive to power the muscles, respiratory system, and cardiac system. To reduce stress, risk of injury, and to improve potential performance in later competitions, horses are carefully cooled out following both training and competition. Leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA, research was completed examining how horses must be acclimated to the heat and humidity, but little research has looked at more effective ways to cool horses down faster after this strenuous physical exercise. During the summer of 2018, a study was conducted in Lexington, KY examining how forced air movement using a 42inch drum fan would impact how horses cooled down after daily gallops. Eight thoroughbreds in race training were used to evaluate the effectiveness of three different fan orientations (no fan, fan blowing at the posterior of the horse, and fan blowing at one of their lateral sides) with all horses also being provided the standard water drench and scrape cooling technique. Measurements of heart rate, respiration rate, and rectal temperature were measured to evaluate the effectiveness of the fan treatments. While the horses were only in front of the fans for approximately a third of their cool down periods, data indicates the rate of cool out trended towards significance when the horses had air movement forced across them compared to the no fan treatment.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 ASABE Annual International Meeting - Boston, United States
Duration: Jul 7 2019Jul 10 2019


Conference2019 ASABE Annual International Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Convection
  • Cooling
  • Equine
  • Fans
  • Heat Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Bioengineering


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