MAIN­TAIN FIT­NESS THROUGH CAN­TER­ING

EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

Brief, oc­ca­sional can­ters may be of some help in main­tain­ing a horse’s fit­ness dur­ing lay-ups or other low-ac­tiv­ity pe­ri­ods.

In a study con­ducted by re­searchers at the Ja­pan Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, 27 Thor­ough­breds un­der­went an 18-week con­di­tion­ing reg­i­men us­ing tread­mills. The horses were then di­vided into three treat­ment groups: One group was can­tered at 70 per­cent of their max­i­mal rate of oxy­gen con­sump­tion (a mea­sure of fit­ness) for three min­utes a day, five days a week; the sec­ond group was walked for an hour daily, five days a week; and the third group was kept on stall rest.

At the end of the 12-week study pe­riod, each horse’s car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness— in­clud­ing max­i­mal car­diac out­put and oxy­gen con­sump­tion—was mea­sured. The data showed sig­nif­i­cant de­creases in the fit­ness lev­els of horses in all groups, al­though those that can­tered ex­pe­ri­enced less of a de­crease in con­di­tion­ing. Some of the car­dio­vas­cu­lar and plasma lac­tate mea­sure­ments in the can­ter-group horses did not change at all dur­ing their time off from reg­u­lar train­ing.

The re­searchers con­clude that it may be pos­si­ble to iden­tify a min­i­mal ex­er­cise thresh­old for main­tain­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness dur­ing breaks from train­ing.

Ref­er­ence: “Ef­fects of main­tain­ing dif­fer­ent ex­er­cise in­ten­si­ties dur­ing de­train­ing on aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity in Thor­ough­breds,” Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Vet­eri­nary Re­search, Fe­bru­ary 2017

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