The energy requirements of performance horses in training

Ebert, Mark and Moore-Colyer, Meriel (2020) The energy requirements of performance horses in training. Translational Animal Science. ISSN 2573-2102

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The aim of this study was to estimate the energy requirements of performance horses in active, variable training in the field. Sixty horses in England and Switzerland were measured over two-week periods, and for fifteen of these the measurement period was extended, ranging from 21 to 42 weeks. Energy intake was estimated by measuring daily feed consumption. Energy output was measured using heart rate monitors during 608 training sessions, relating heart rate (HR) to VO₂ and converting VO₂ to energy. Field maintenance requirements were calculated by deducting the marginal energy cost of training from energy input. The mean field maintenance expenditure for performance horses with a normal temperament was found to be 0.118 MJ of metabolisable energy (ME) / kg of bodyweight (BW) / day (SD = 0.008, CI = 0.005, n = 60 horses). This result is between 1.9% (P = 0.086) and 20.9% (P < 0.001) greater than the official guidance found in the US, France, Germany and Holland. Heart rate monitoring of training revealed a mean energy expenditure / ridden session of 0.023 MJ ME (SD = 0.001, CI = 0.001, n = 175 training sessions). The mean daily energy expenditure for exercise based on a full week’s training was 0.018 MJ ME / kg BW / day (SD = 0.005, CI = 0.001, n = 60 horses) representing a multiple of maintenance of 15.3%. This implies that the official guidance in the US and France may overstate expenditure for exercise by 111% and 15%, respectively (P < .01). Daily energy expenditure between countries and within disciplines was consistent, allowing for the creation of user-friendly tables which can be used in budgeting the energy component of diets.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: energy balance, equine, equine obesity, exercise, maintenance, nutrition model
Divisions: Equine Management and Science
Depositing User: Prof Meriel Moore-Colyer
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2020 17:23
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 15:09

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