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Zentralbl Veterinarmed A. 1996 Dec;43(10):635-41.

Cardio-respiratory and plasma lactate responses to exercise with low draught resistances in standardbred trotters.

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  • 1Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.


Five Standardbred trotters performed treadmill exercise with incrementally increasing trotting velocities for 2 min intervals in three different tests until fatigue. Each test was performed with draught loads of either 10, 20 or 30 kilopond (kp). Each trotting interval was followed by 2 min periods at a walk without draught load. Recordings were made of heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), plasma lactate (PLA) and stride frequency (SF) at the end of each trotting interval. The HR increased to average values of 191 +/- 10,203 +/- 10 and 214 +/- 7 bpm and PLA increased to 3.8 +/- 0.7, 7.3 +/- 3.8 and 10.8 +/- 6.4 mmol/l at 9 m/s in the three tests, respectively. The HR response to exercise was significantly higher with increasing draught loads, and PLA was significantly higher with 30 kp compared to 10 kp draught resistance. The lowest respiratory rate was seen in the test with 30 kp loading. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) was measured in a separate test on a sloped treadmill with increasing velocities without draught load and averaged 70.4 +/- 9.11/min. Muscle biopsies were taken from the gluteus muscle. Individual variations were seen in VO2peak, muscle fibre composition and HR and PLA responses to exercise. In conclusion, at a certain velocity a small increase in draught resistance from 10 to 30 kp significantly increases both the HR and PLA responses. At comparable work intensities the horses differed in circulatory and metabolic responses to exercise.

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