Over recent years the horse-racing industry has been rocked by fixing and cheating scandals, but you'll never guess the latest performance enhancer for racing ponies: a cross-country flight.
Horses can gallop an extra 25 seconds following air travel to different time zones before fatigue takes place, according to a study reported on in the Daily Mail.
Researchers found stallions and mares are very sensitive to sudden shifts in their regular light-dark routine, but they're able to deal with the travel easier than their human counterparts.
The ponies actually benefit from hormones released from the travel which scientists say helps athletic performance. Researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. became the first to look into the impact of jet lag on the performance of racehorses. The results showed a positive effect on the horses, unlike humans and rodents, whose physical performance is hurt by the changes in the 24-hour, light-dark cycle disruption of biological rhythms.
During the research, horses felt a shift in the regular daily light-dark cycle that copied an eastern flight across seven time zones. The research was published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology and could have a big impact on horse trainers. As one of the scientists pointed out, racehorses don't have to travel to be subjected to changes in daily light, meaning this study could result in changes to the way the animals are trained.
Other than humans, racehorses are the only animals that routinely travel across time zones for athletic events.
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