Friday, July 08, 2016

Researchers probe metabolic performance in young endurance horses - Full Article

July 8, 2016

Experienced endurance horses were better able to maintain their blood glucose than young horses in competition, a French study has shown.

The researchers, writing in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, said long-term endurance exercise was known to severely affect metabolism in both human and animal athletes, resulting in a serious risk of metabolic disorders during or after competition.

Horses up to the age of six can compete in endurance races up to 90km, they noted, despite limited scientific knowledge of energy-related metabolic responses to long distance exercise in these animals.

“There is,” they reported, “no biological or physiological data available for 4–6-year-old horses.”

The researchers noted that, during endurance races, horses ran at speeds ranging from 12kmh to 26kmh. During exercise, muscle stocks of adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate in muscle are quickly depleted and energy must then be derived from glycolytic and/or oxidative pathways.

“At higher speeds, horses face high metabolic stress due to the intensity and duration of muscular effort. Thus, specific metabolic adaptations are needed that may be observed in horses selected for endurance for a long time, such as Arabians.”

While Arabian horses were recognized as the best breed to perform endurance competitions, their physical development was slow and extended until the age of six, they noted...

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