Exercise Exhaustion (Book Excerpt)

Many exercise-induced problems could be avoided by applying common sense limits to performance stresses. If you plan to compete at eventing and endurance riding, make sure both you and your horse are appropriately prepared.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Understanding Equine First Aid by Michael A. Ball, DVM. 

The ability to exercise and the metabolic responses to exercise differ in each individual horse and can vary greatly depending on many factors. The genetic potential for athleticism, the level of training, the degree of conditioning, the presence of underlying health problems, and environmental variables such as ambient temperature and humidity are only a few of the factors that determine overall exercise tolerance. As many a “weekend warrior-type” human athlete knows all too well, if you have trained to run a couple of miles once a week and then set out to do the 26-mile Boston Marathon, the outcome will be painful. The same is true for your horse.

Many exercise-induced problems could be avoided by applying common sense limits to performance stresses. If you plan to compete at eventing and endurance riding, make sure both you and your horse are appropriately prepared. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to pull up if those limits are going to be exceeded. During the training for such events, monitoring of the health and well being of your horse becomes your responsibility. Seek out advice on training. Learn what the danger signs are and gradually expand your horse’s individual limits.

Exercise exhaustion can occur after relatively brief maximal exercise or after prolonged submaximal exercise. The signs of exercise exhaustion are: 1) a persistently elevated body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate; 2) the presence of dehydration with a lack of thirst; 3) an increased capillary refill time observed in the gums; 4) an irregular heart rhythm; 5) decreased gastrointestinal sounds, a flabby dilated anus, and colic; 6) muscle cramps and spasms; 7) depression and lack of desire to eat; and 8) the presence of “thumps” (described later in this chapter)

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Michael A. Ball, DVM, completed an internship in medicine and surgery and an internship in anesthesia at the University of Georgia in 1994, a residency in internal medicine, and graduate work in pharmacology at Cornell University in 1997, and was on staff at Cornell before starting Early Winter Equine Medicine & Surgery located in Ithaca, New York. He was an FEI veterinarian and worked internationally with the United States Equestrian Team. He died in 2014.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Has your veterinarian used SAA testing for your horse(s)?
92 votes · 92 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!