This study investigated the effect of lidocaine i.v. on halothane minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) in ponies. Six ponies were anaesthetised with thiopentone and succinylcholine, intubated and anaesthesia maintained with halothane. Ventilation was controlled and blood pressure maintained within clinically acceptable limits. Following a 2 h equilibration period, baseline halothane MAC was determined. The ponies were then given a loading dose of lidocaine (2.5 or 5 mg/kg bwt) or saline over 5 min, followed by a constant infusion of lidocaine (50 or 100 μg/kg/min, or saline, respectively). The halothane MAC was redetermined after a 60 min infusion of lidocaine or saline. The baseline halothane MAC for the control group was mean ± s.d. 0.94 ± 0.03%, and no significant decrease occurred following saline infusion. Lidocaine decreased halothane MAC in a dose-dependent fashion (r = 0.86; P<0.0003). The results indicate that i.v. lidocaine may have a role in equine anaesthesia.