The relationships between V4 (the velocity for a blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol/litre) and V200 (the velocity for a heart rate of 200 bpm) and the performance indices of 223 healthy French trotters were analysed. They were divided into four age groups of three, four, five and six years and over, and into three performance groups (good, intermediate and poor performers) defined by the index of trot (ITR), an annual index of performance calculated by the national stud. V4 and V200 were assessed during the performance of a three-step standardised field exercise test, and four performance indexes (ITR, earnings, best time and the number of starts) were calculated for each group. An analysis of variance showed that V4 and V200 were highly correlated with the horses’ age and level of performance (P<0·05). The correlation between the physiological variables and ITR was better for the three- and four-year-old horses than for the older horses.