Warm summer weather is just around the corner, which means many owners will be hosing sweaty horses after exercise on a regular basis. But how much sweat are you rinsing down the drain after each ride? The National Research Council and German Society for Nutrition Physiology’s current estimation methods depend on the amount of work the horse performs, but a group of researchers from Germany and the United Kingdom have proposed a new scoring system to measure sweat loss in exercised horses.

“We’ve performed a number of studies on the effects of sodium chloride on the acid, base, and mineral status in sport horses, and as a result, we are aware of the high importance of exact data on electrolyte supply and, thus, on sweat losses,” relayed Annette Zeyner, a professor of animal nutrition at Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.

Zenyer and colleagues hypothesized that scoring equine sweat loss via specific, externally visible characteristics would be more practical and accurate than current estimation methods. The team employed 17 Warmblood-type mares that participated in two separate exercise regimens on consecutive summer days:

  • Light Work: 10 minutes fast walk, 10 minutes trot, 5 minutes canter, 5 minutes trot, and 10 minutes slow walk; and
  • Medium Work: 15 minutes fast walk, 10 minutes trot, 10 minutes canter (including some gallop), 5 minutes trot, 10 minutes canter, and 10 minutes slow walk.

The team groomed and weighed the horses before exercise and three hours after exercise to determine body weight losses, which they corrected for water intake, fecal and urinary output, an