Sunday, December 23, 2012

Energy and the Performance Horse - Full Article

By Dr. Joe Pagan · December 10, 2012

Energy is a measure of a feed’s potential to fuel body functions and exercise. Various pathways and substrates are used by the horse to produce a chemical intermediate that fuels muscle contraction during exercise and depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise.

The main productive function in horses—racehorses, draft horses, trail horses—is work. The basic driving force behind the various types of equine performance is the conversion of chemically bound energy from feed into mechanical energy for muscular movement.

Because horses do not eat continuously while they exercise, feed energy must be stored in the horse’s body for later release. The horse can utilize a number of different storage forms including intramuscular glycogen and triglycerides as well as extramuscular stores such as adipose tissue and liver glycogen. Many factors determine the proportion of energy derived from each storage form including speed and duration of work, feed, fitness, muscle fiber composition, and age of the horse...

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