The responses in heart rate, plasma lactate and rectal temperature of standardbred trotters to draught loaded interval exercise on a treadmill and a race track were studied. The horses were exercised with incrementally increasing trotting speeds for two-minute intervals with draught loads of 10, 20 and 30 kilopond (kp) in three different tests. Each trotting interval was followed by two-minute periods at a walk without a draught load. Measurements of heart rate and plasma lactate were made at the end of each interval and the rectal temperature was taken at the end of the exercise. The heart rate and plasma lactate levels were significantly lower on the treadmill than on the track in the tests with 10 kp, but no significant differences were found between the treadmill and track exercise tests with the heavier draught resistances. No differences were observed in rectal temperature between treadmill and track conditions. From these findings it was concluded that the workload was significantly greater on the race track compared to the treadmill when the draught resistance was low (10 kp). Although the workload increased on both the race track and the treadmill as draught resistance increased, at the heavier draught resistances track exercise was no longer more demanding than exercise on the treadmill.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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