Exercise testing in Warmblood sport horses under field conditions.

Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997)

PubMedID: 25172838

Munsters CC, van Iwaarden A, van Weeren R, Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan MM. Exercise testing in Warmblood sport horses under field conditions. Vet J. 2014;.
Regular exercise testing in Warmblood sport horses may, as in racing, potentially help to characterise fitness indices in different disciplines and at various competition levels and assist in understanding when a horse is 'fit to compete'. In this review an overview is given of the current state of the art of exercise testing in the Olympic disciplines of eventing, show jumping and dressage, and areas for further development are defined. In event horses, a simple four-step incremental exercise test measuring heart rate (HR), lactate concentration (LA) and velocity (V) is most often used. In dressage and riding horses, a wide variety of exercise tests have been developed, including incremental exercise tests, indoor riding tests and lunging tests. In show jumping, the use of a five-step incremental exercise test and exercise tests evaluating technical skills and fatigue of the horse has been reported. The velocity at a plasma LA of 4?mmol/L (VLA4) and HR recovery during submaximal exercise intensity have been shown to be the best parameters in event horses for predicting performance and impending injuries. In riding horses, the fitness level of horses is also an important determinant of injuries. Implementation of regular exercise testing and monitoring of training sessions may have important added value in the assessment of performance ability and potential future injuries in Warmblood sport horses. However, there is an urgent need to standardise methodologies and outcome parameters in order to make results comparable.