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Sprint Test Measures Metabolism in Exercising HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 11, 2014

What metabolic differences can be detected in heavily exercising horses compared to horses that are relaxing in a pasture?

Intense exercise triggers some physiologic processes that are found in horses running at maximal speed. These processes are of interest because some exercising horses develop severe muscle cramping or other problems related to extreme exertion.

A sprint test simulates a racing exercise bout and is used to investigate critical metabolism occurrences during high-speed exercise. At Kentucky Equine Research, Thoroughbreds are galloped on a high-speed treadmill at 115% of maximal oxygen consumption until fatigued. Indirect calorimetry is used to measure oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production to ascertain maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (MAOD). In turn, anaerobic capacity is determined by MAOD. Information derived from sprint tests is applicable to Thoroughbred racehorses.


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