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So many kilometers does your horse walk in the paddock every single day

how much do you think your horse walks in the paddock photo canva pro
how much do you think your horse walks in the paddock photo canva pro

Have you ever wondered how much your horse actually moves when it's out in the paddock? Then you don't need to wonder anymore.


A research project conducted by a bachelor's student named Eleanor Mackenzie from Hartpury University in England aims to investigate the activity level of horses in the paddock. The project also examined whether the length of paddock time, the size of the paddock, and the season affect how many kilometers horses cover each day. This has resulted in a number of interesting findings.

More than 5000 hours of data

Many horses of different breeds, ages, heights, genders, and uses were used in the study. There were also variations in the different horses' paddock time. Some were in the paddock for about five hours, while others were out most of the day. The researcher measured the distance traveled by each of the horses while they were in the paddock. In addition, she also measured how fast the horses moved. Everything was measured with GPS trackers mounted on the horses. In total, she collected over 5000 hours of data.

Read also: Is your horse getting enough sleep? Lack of deep sleep can be harmful

The GPS coordinates revealed that the horses mainly moved in the same areas, as shown in the image below.

the marked green areas show where the horses were primarily located in the paddocks during the experiments. photo
The marked green areas show where the horses were primarily located in the paddocks during the experiments. Photo:

Moved the most in the autumn

The analyses revealed that the size of the paddock did not influence how far or how fast the horses walked. However, the experiments showed that the distance covered and the average speed varied depending on whether it was winter or summer. You might think that this is logical, as for many horses, winter brings muddy paddocks that don't invite play and activities. Although there might be some truth to that, the horses actually moved the least in the summer. In autumn and winter, the horses moved on average 7.4 km per day, while in the summer, they only moved 3.7 kilometers. By comparison, wild horses move on average a total of 28.3 kilometers per day.


The effects of reduced movement in humans are well documented in terms of weight gain, impact on joints, muscles, and even mental health. Although this has not been studied to the same extent in horses, most horse people would probably agree that horses need to move to thrive both physically and mentally.

Read also: The Chemistry in the Horse's Brain: 4 Neurotransmitters that are Significant for the Horse's Behavior

Although the study was a pilot study – meaning it was still in the testing stage – it still tells us something about how essential paddock time is for horses. It also highlights the importance of supplementing paddock time with other physical activities daily if the horse is to reach an activity level that even remotely resembles that of wild horses.


Science Equine: The activity of horses turned out at pasture using Trackener

Read also: Why you should let your horse graze in the pasture


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