A device that is shaking up the horse world was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Holly Spooner, who holds the Chair of Equine Health in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, first aired April 24 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
With MTSU Horse Science Program professors Rhonda Hoffman and John Haffner and student Kayleigh Maher, Spooner co-authored a study of the impact of whole-body vibration on horses.
When the device is in use, the horse stands on a metal plate 4 to 6 inches off the ground while a human turns it on and adjusts the frequency of the vibration with a dial on the machine.
After an earlier MTSU study determined that whole-body vibration helped horses maintain bone density, Spooner said, MTSU embarked on a follow-up study.
“With this particular project, we … looked at how this therapy, in conjunction with regular exercise, perhaps improve bone density and some other parameters in the horse,” said Spooner, who also serves as director of the Master of Science in Horse Science graduate program.
“We said, ‘OK. If we add whole-body vibration to horses that are already exercising, can we see a cumulative effect of that whole-body vibration? Or, basically, even if they’re not losing bone mass, will this add to their bone mass?’ And the results didn’t indicate that that would be the case.”
Manufacturers and proponents of vibration plates claim that whole-body therapy can provide the horse with benefits that range from increased circulation to curbing arthritis to building stronger bones.
Spooner said that there is little academic research about whole-body vibration for horses as yet, although they have been on the market between five and 10 years.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.