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How Can Treadmill Exercise Be Used to Judge Fitness in Horses?By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · May 8, 2013

Six Thoroughbred horses were used to evaluate one-day and five-day standardized exercise tests (SET) on a high-speed treadmill with a six-degree incline.

Heart rates were measured and blood samples were collected at rest and during exercise. Heart rate/velocity and lactate/velocity relationships were determined.

This study demonstrated that the type of SET design affects the heart rate and lactate responses to exercise at the same speed. Sequential steps of short duration measure the speed with which aerobic metabolism can increase in response to an increase in exercise intensity, while single steps of longer duration give a truer indication of the overall contribution that anaerobic metabolism makes to energy generation at a specific speed.

This report of KER's 1993 research was published in Proceedings of the 13th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society Symposium.

Read the entire research paper, titled A Comparison of Different Standardized Exercise Tests (SET) for Assessing Fitness on a High-Speed Treadmill.