Blood samples were taken from 15 horses before and after a 50-mile ride to examine the changes occurring in some biochemical constituents. There was a significant (P less than 0.05) decrease in plasma potassium, calcium and magnesium concentrations and a rise in inorganic phosphate but there was no alteration in plasma sodium, chloride or protein levels or change in haematocrit. After the ride there was a highly significant (P less than 0.01) fall in blood glucose corresponding with increased lipolysis and a rise in plasma free fatty acids (P less than 0.001) and glycerol (P less than 0.001). There was a modest increase in blood lactate and a rise in plasma creatine phosphokinase. The results of this preliminary investigation are discussed in relation to the problem of exhaustion in horses during endurance rides.
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