Sunday, March 18, 2007

Scientific Principles for Conditioning Performance Horses

The equine athlete undergoes significant musculo-skeletal changes during conditioning and competition. Unfortunately, lameness and losses are higher than desirable and the industry is challenged to use field-and-laboratory-based principles for improving the well-being of race and performace horses. Body condition can be adjusted to delay fatigue and influence thermal regulation. Body weight estimates can aid in feeding horses more effectively. Preride checks and adequate warm-up are vital to the initial conditioning and specificity of training phases horses must undergo to be cmpetitive. Heart rate provides a good monitor of how horses respond to exersize and can be used to minimize injury through effectively regulated overloading techniques. Diet plays a major role in conditioning and energy can be provided in a fashion to increased time to fatigue and improve heat dissipation. Cardiovascular fitness remains with horses longer than skeletal strenth during off-periods and both ground surfaces and exercise schedules impact the length of time needed to prepare for the rigors of competition.

The Complete Paper (PDF)

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