OF PER­FOR­MANCE

EQUUS - - EQ Medical Front -

spe­cific heart mea­sure­ment alone.

This same phys­i­o­log­i­cal trait has been doc­u­mented in both elite Thor­ough­bred and Stan­dard­bred race­horses, says Sleeper. That may be due to the sim­i­lar na­ture of their sports, she says. “I ex­pect that in any of the sports that re­quire sig­nif­i­cant car­diac out­put---for ex­am­ple, polo, rac­ing, en­durance or jumping ---the horse with a big heart will prob­a­bly have an edge, es­pe­cially at the up­per lev­els. Ath­leti­cism comes from a lot of dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties, though. It is prob­a­bly less im­por­tant for a dres­sage horse to have ex­cep­tional car­diac out­put, although their bal­ance and sup­ple­ness must be ex­cel­lent for them to ex­cel.”

Whether th­ese elite ath­letes are born with this spe­cific trait or whether train­ing pro­duces it is un­clear, says Sleeper. “There are def­i­nitely the­o­ries that it is ge­netic, and there is some ev­i­dence as well---with lots of popular leg­ends.

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