ECB Water Treadmill Case study: The use of ECB water treadmills for Yearling Prep

Conducted by: Ali Foye, Gundy Park Equine Rehabilitation & Fitness Centre, Australia.

A young Male horse was starting prep for the Inglis Classic Yearling Sales in Australia. Traditional training methods such as trotting on a walker or in circles were avoided during the prep because it can put unnecessary stress on the joints of young horses causing lameness, especially if trotting on an uneven surface. The ECB water treadmill was used as the alternative to see if training on a water treadmill could condition the colt to the standard needed for the sale. He started his exercise training 4 weeks later than any other yearling heading to the sales. The results were positive – training on the water treadmill led to a highly conditioned colt with well-developed muscles and overall fitness. The colt was successfully sold for $AUD50,000 at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sales.

Background and Aims:
This colt was prepped for the Inglis Classic Sale 2020 Lot 191. He started his exercise program for the sales on the 23rd of December 2019 – 4 weeks later than any other yearling heading to the sales.

This was to be an experiment. Would the treadmill condition the colt in a shorter period of time, resulting in a happier horse and less expense for the clients, and most of all, be a more beneficial program for the colt?

Traditional methods to prepare a yearling often involve 40 minutes of trotting on a walker, trotting around in circles, and sometimes on an uneven surface.
This puts unnecessary strain on young joints, resulting in lame horses during the prep period and at the sales. It can also result in further development problems and complications down the track. On top of that, these young horses are often fed enormous feeds which are very high in grains and not balanced. My aim is to find a better way to prepare the yearling for sale from a health perspective to presentation.

ECB Water Treadmill Training and Preparation:
The colt started with 8 minutes a day on the ECB Water Treadmill and built up to 15 mins a day, with the incline on level 4/12, and the water depth mostly at carpal height. (Sometimes lower to create higher joint action and sometimes deeper to create resistance.)
He was never put into a roller to develop his neck either. (It’s common for yearlings to have their heads tied down for up to an hour in their box to develop their neck muscles). The colt only worked 5 days in a row and would then have 2 days off in the paddock. He was fed a simple diet of Fibre Fresh Protect, Hygain Growtorque, and Hygain Tru Gain, along with 40ml of KER EQ3 oil daily, plus a daily full hay net (slow feeders) of Teff Hay and one of Lucerne Hay, as I like them to have a choice and always something to graze on.

The end result was a superbly developed colt, well-muscled, with brilliant coat shine, and a very happy boy. He thoroughly enjoyed his sessions, often dunking his head half underwater when he could and having the odd splash. What’s also amazing is it took him a whole 5 minutes to work out how to walk on the treadmill and after the first go, he never questioned going on it and was never bothered by the nappy! He sold to a brilliant Trainer -Jean Dubois of Woodpark Stud in the Southern Highlands – and will have all the opportunity in the world to succeed.

Find out more about the ECB water treadmill here. If you are interested in buying the product and want pricing information, contact us here.