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By Expert Author: Jenny Styles
The horse is a great athlete, capable of strenuous exercise over prolonged periods. But all that muscular activity generates heat. This causes an increase in body temperature. Under normal circumstances thehorse is able to lose the excess heat and maintain its body temperature within tightly controlled limits.
In response to the release of epinephrine, and the increase in skin temperature, the horse starts to sweat. Evaporation of sweat is the most important means of losing heat available to the horse. Sweat secreted onto the skin draws heat from the horse as it evaporates. Evaporation from the respiratory tract also plays a role in cooling.
Some heat is lost through convection. The body surface warms the surrounding air, which conducts the heat away. Loss of heat by convection is most effective when the temperature of the air surrounding thehorse is low. When the environmental temperature approaches that of the horse 's body, heat loss by convection is greatly reduced. Air movement at the body surface helps by removing the warmed air and replacing it with cooler air.