Equine production, management and health
We have research expertise examining on-farm and industry level limitations in production and equine health across in both the racing and sport horse industries. We are working to reduce disease and improve equine health and welfare.
This includes epidemiological studies assessing risk factors, system analysis and computer modelling.
Pasture production is an important aspect of equine nutrition in New Zealand. We have a number of on-farm projects examining pasture growth and utilisation under commercial conditions.
We provide feed evaluation and characterisation, with in vitro and in vivo modelling as major research focuses. We are developing novel assays, particularly bioassays and gut function modelling.
Commercial and research partners can undertake comprehensive evaluation, development and optimisation of equine feeds and supplements through practical feeding trials and detailed laboratory analyses.
Veterinary medicine for horses
Clinical research is undertaken to determine safety of newly-developed drugs/treatments for horses. We also operate controlled trials to compare efficacy of treatment.
Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.
Search for an expert
Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.
Capturing and analysing limb injuries in race horses
Equestrian industries make up about 2 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP and about a third of horses that start training and racing are retired and lost due to injury. About three-quarters of these are musculoskeletal injuries. Dr Bob Colborne and PhD student Alienor Bardin, a mechanical engineer, are investigating solutions to these injuries in race horses using 3D capture and computer modelling. The project involves having the horses trot and canter along a runway in a sand arena over a force platform embedded in the surface in front of six infrared cameras that record the 3D movement of the horse’s limb segments on a consistent surface.
Contak - therapeutic equestrian saddle
Riding for the disabled encourages physical, emotional and educational benefits. Holly Wright's 'Contak' is a specialised saddle that focuses on the safety and experience for disabled riders and the horses involved, as well as improving the comfort and effectiveness of the volunteer side walkers.
Lower injury rates in New Zealand racehorses
Racehorses in New Zealand have a lower risk of injury than in other countries, with further work needed to explain why.
The study, from Massey University’s Equine Research Centre, examined New Zealand race records and reports over six racing seasons between 2005 and 2011. During this time there were 188,616 race starts for 16,646 individual horses, with only 177 horses failing to complete a race for health-related reasons.
Internationally the rate is significantly lower, with recent work from the United Kingdom showing a race-day musculoskeletal injuries of 2.1 injuries per 1000 starts and research in Kentucky in the United States reporting a rate of 4.1 injuries per 1000 starts.
Animal Genetic Services
Massey University’s Equine Parentage and Animal Genetics Services Centre offers the most comprehensive range of DNA-based genetic testing for animals in New Zealand.
Equine Veterinary Clinic
Our highly skilled equine team offers a broad range of medical and surgical expertise. You can bring your horse in by appointment or ask your vet to refer your horse to us in difficult cases.
We are supported by experienced and qualified anaesthetists, nurses, technicians, clinical pathologists, and diagnostic imaging specialists allowing us to provide 24-hour intensive care.
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre
The Centre focuses on animal welfare in a diverse range of human-animal interactions. This includes the use of animals in research, teaching and testing, on farms, in the home, for sport, recreation and entertainment, in service roles, in zoos and the wild, and in other arenas.
Equine Research Centre
Much of the equine research carried out in New Zealand is conducted at Massey University. Our aim is to perform scientific research and promote education to optimise equine health, welfare and the productivity of the equine industry.
Monogastric Research Centre
The Centre is an Australasian Centre of Excellence on monogastric species. Research focuses on feed evaluation, nutrition, husbandry and welfare. It provides a focal point for the New Zealand monogastric industries and has extensive international linkages.