Conditioning Horses for Competitive Performance and Health

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Equids".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2024) | Viewed by 3713

Special Issue Editors

Arbeitsgruppe Pferd, Heinrich-Röttgen-Strasse 20, Jülich, Germany
Interests: training; sports; health management; exercise; recovery; performance diagnosis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Warwick Bayly
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6610, USA
Interests: internal medicine - large animal; equine exercise science
Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Interests: comparative exercise; cardiovascular physiology; ergogenic practices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Conditioning can be defined as the process of preparing an athlete for competition so that they can compete at their best and avoid injuries and disease. Nowadays, more horses are getting older and develop age-dependent and “civilization” diseases. Managing the older horses through conditioning programs is likely to keep them healthy for longer, as is the case for humans.

Thus, this Special Issue shall be devoted to research on:

  • The conditioning of race and sport horses competing in all sports disciplines, and all other horses, to prevent them from diseases due to aging and “civilization”.
  • Managing the health of all horses with ailments produced due to a lack of movement and overfeeding (civilization diseases) through regular exercise.
  • The diagnosis and monitoring of the effect of conditioning programs.
  • Basic information on the possibilities and inconveniences of using physiological and biochemical variables to condition horses and monitor the effects of the conditioning programs.

Dr. Arno E. Lindner
Prof. Dr. Warwick Bayly
Prof. Dr. Kenneth H. McKeever
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • training
  • sports
  • health management
  • exercise
  • recovery
  • performance diagnosis

Published Papers (2 papers)

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13 pages, 2018 KiB  
Article
Effect of a 14-Day Period of Heat Acclimation on Horses Using Heated Indoor Arenas in Preparation for Tokyo Olympic Games
Animals 2024, 14(4), 546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040546 - 06 Feb 2024
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Abstract
To optimise the performance and welfare of horses during equestrian competitions in hot climates, it is advised to acclimate them to the heat. The effects of training in a heated indoor arena were studied. Four Olympic horses (13.3 ± 2.2 years; three eventers, [...] Read more.
To optimise the performance and welfare of horses during equestrian competitions in hot climates, it is advised to acclimate them to the heat. The effects of training in a heated indoor arena were studied. Four Olympic horses (13.3 ± 2.2 years; three eventers, one para-dressage horse) were trained for 14 consecutive days in a heated indoor arena (32 ± 1 °C; 50–60% humidity) following their normal training schedule in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic games. Standardised exercise tests (SETs) were performed on Day 1 and Day 14, measuring heart rate (HR; bpm), plasma lactate concentration (LA; mmol/L), deep rectal temperature (Trec; °C), sweat loss (SL; L), and sweat composition (K+, Cl and Na+ concentration). The data were analysed using linear mixed models. The Trec and HR were significantly decreased after acclimation (estimate: −0.106, 95% CI −0.134, −0.078; estimate: −4.067, 95% CI −7.535, −0.598, respectively). Furthermore, for all the horses, the time taken to reach their peak Trec and heat storage increased, while their LA concentrations decreased. The SL, Cl, and Na+ concentrations decreased in three out of the four horses. Conclusions: Fourteen days of normal training in a heated indoor arena resulted in a reduction in cardiovascular and thermal strain. This is advantageous because it shows that elite sport horses can be acclimated while training as usual for a championship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conditioning Horses for Competitive Performance and Health)
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11 pages, 880 KiB  
Commentary
The Emerging Role of Hypoxic Training for the Equine Athlete
Animals 2023, 13(17), 2799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13172799 - 03 Sep 2023
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Abstract
This paper provides a comprehensive discussion on the physiological impacts of hypoxic training, its benefits to endurance performance, and a rationale for utilizing it to improve performance in the equine athlete. All exercise-induced training adaptations are governed by genetics. Exercise prescriptions can be [...] Read more.
This paper provides a comprehensive discussion on the physiological impacts of hypoxic training, its benefits to endurance performance, and a rationale for utilizing it to improve performance in the equine athlete. All exercise-induced training adaptations are governed by genetics. Exercise prescriptions can be tailored to elicit the desired physiological adaptations. Although the application of hypoxic stimuli on its own is not ideal to promote favorable molecular responses, exercise training under hypoxic conditions provides an optimal environment for maximizing physiological adaptations to enhance endurance performance. The combination of exercise training and hypoxia increases the activity of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway compared to training under normoxic conditions. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) is known as a master regulator of the expression of genes since over 100 genes are responsive to HIF-1α. For instance, HIF-1-inducible genes include those critical to erythropoiesis, angiogenesis, glucose metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis, and glucose transport, all of which are intergral in physiological adaptations for endurance performance. Further, hypoxic training could conceivably have a role in equine rehabilitation when high-impact training is contraindicated but a quality training stimulus is desired. This is achievable through purpose-built equine motorized treadmills inside commercial hypoxic chambers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conditioning Horses for Competitive Performance and Health)
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