An investigation into fibre composition and glycogen depletion pattern within the middle gluteal of 16 horses participating in an 80 km endurance ride was carried out. Although the proportion of slow twitch high oxidative (ST) fibres in the horses varied between 7 and 38 per cent, it was found that the horses with the highest proportion of these fibres usually had the best performance records. The cross-sectional area of the fast twitch low oxidative (FT) fibres was greatest, with the ST and fast twitch high oxidative (FTH) being similar in size. Most marked histological evidence of glycogen depletion after the ride was in the ST fibres, which were apparently totally depleted. A variable degree of depletion was found in both the FTH and FT fibres. Biochemical measurement of muscle glycogen showed a 56 +/- 7.2 per cent (mean +/- SEM) decrease in content.
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