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By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 16, 2013
Hard-working horses sweat as they exercise, and intense or long-duration performance can cause a significant loss of body fluid and electrolytes. Owners need to have a fairly accurate idea of how much sweat the horse has lost so that they can provide enough fluid and electrolytes to be sure that their horses make up these deficits.
Estimates of sweat loss have sometimes been based on the extent and intensity of work the horse has been asked to perform. However, each owner’s idea of light, moderate, and heavy exercise is likely to be slightly different from the way other riders define the same work session.
Researchers at Martin Luther University in Germany recently collaborated in a study designed to evaluate equine sweat patterns after exercise. They used 17 Warmblood mares that were assigned to a light work group or a medium work group. The horses were groomed and weighed before exercise. Immediately after exercise, they were unsaddled and photographed to record visible sweat. The horses were weighed three hours after exercise to determine the amount of weight lost. This figure was corrected for water intake, loss of weight in feces and urine, and estimated respiratory fluid loss. All horses completed each work regimen twice; one horse completed each regimen three times...
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