Physiological responses of young Thoroughbreds during their first year of race training.

H. Ohmura, A. Hiraga, A. Matsui, H. Aida, Y. Inoue, Y. Asai, James H Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


Yearling horses are typically trained for more than a year before they begin racing; therefore, we questioned how relevant analyses of the initial responses to training are compared to physiological responses that occur over a year of training, and whether young horses with no history of training would respond the same as older horses that had been trained previously. We hypothesised that changes in O2 transport over the last months of a year of training would be different than at the beginning. We trained 5 yearling Thoroughbreds and evaluated metabolism, O2 transport and echocardiograms. Measurements were made before breaking (T1), after 6 months of training (T2) and following an additional 4 months of training (T3). We compared 5 trained horses (TR) with 5 untrained (UT) sex-, size- and age-matched yearlings kept at pasture and in boxes. Satellite telemetry indicated UT moved less total daily distance than TR during winter and more during summer, but UT walked for 80% of their distance, TR only 25%. The UT increased body mass (Mb) after T1 by 13% and were significantly heavier and fatter than TR. Specific aerobic capacity (VO2max/Mb) increased by 16% in both groups at T2, but by T3 was not different from T1 in UT, but was higher in TR (19%>T1, 15%>UT). In TR, specific cardiac output (Q/Mb) increased by 13% at T2, and specific stroke volume (V(S)/Mb) were larger at T2 and T3 than T1 and UT at the same times both by physiological (15-16%) and echocardiographical (22-23%) estimates. Increased Vs was a primary correlate of the sustained increase in VO2max/Mb in TR. The large increases in V(S) and VO2max had occurred by T2 and changed only slightly by T3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEquine veterinary journal. Supplement
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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