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Meraviglia Riding

The effects of muscles on horse performances

According to Department of Comparative Physiology and Biometrics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Ghent University, Belgium:”It is well known that exercise induces chemical, metabolic and structural changes in muscles. However, the effect of the type of exercise on these changes has not been thoroughly studied in horses yet, because of a lack of standardized study methods”.

In their review “the effect of three different types of exercise on muscle adaptation and metabolic responses is investigated.           

The requirements for power exercise are not the same as for low intensity exercise. Each type of
training induces its own shift in muscle fiber typing, as well as in enzyme concentrations and (an)
aerobic capacity. These physiological adaptations in response to training facilitate more efficient
exercise and therefore increase performance. Hence, it is important to know the adaptations that
muscles undergo in response to each type of exercise to optimize training management of sport
horses in function of the needs of the discipline in which they compete”.

They continue:”The aim of training is to improve sport performance and prevent the occurrence of training related injuries. Biochemically, depending on the type of applied training, either an increase in aerobic or anaerobic capacity occurs. Depending on the type of applied training, five important muscle fiber features can be influenced:

1. muscle morphometrics (volume),

2. fiber type composition (transition),

3. muscle mitochondrial density,

4. muscular capillarization,

5. muscular enzymatic activity.

There are three possible responses:

  •  Quantitative response: is an increase in muscle fiber volume, but with the same physiological and biochemical structures (hypertrophy);
  • Qualitative response: is a transition in muscle fiber type, i.e. a change in structure and composition of the muscle fibers without changes in volume (remodeling) (Rivero, 2007);
  • A combination of both”. 


You can find the paper research here. 





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