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What Is an Endurance Test?By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 23, 2014

At Kentucky Equine Research, many types of tests are conducted to learn about the horse’s use of energy during various types of exercise. An endurance test investigates changes in a horse’s energy metabolism during slow, long-distance exercise.

Before an endurance test is conducted, horses that are to participate in the trial are gradually conditioned for the type of work they will be asked to do. These endurance-trained horses are then asked to trot for 90 minutes on a treadmill inclined to 3° at 35% of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). Blood is drawn from the exercising horses at regular intervals. Plasma samples are extracted from the blood and analyzed for certain metabolites.

Oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production are measured by indirect calorimetry and used to determine the respiratory exchange ratio (RER). The RER reveals if carbohydrates, fats, or a combination of both are contributing to energy use during submaximal exercise.  

Data gathered from simulated endurance tests can be applied to horses used in competitive endurance races.


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