• horse;
  • metabolism;
  • glycogen;
  • lactate;
  • fatty acid


Glycogenolysis and lipolysis are essential for energy production in muscle during prolonged exercise but less is known about the role of amino acid metabolism. The aim was to study the effect of an endurance race on pro- and macroglycogen, triglycerides and amino acid concentrations in muscle and on selected blood parameters, especially the amino acid response in the blood during the recovery phase.

Seven endurance-trained horses completed a race covering 100–120 km. Blood samples were collected one day before the race, after the finish and 1 and 8 days after the race. Needle biopsy specimens from the gluteus medius muscle were taken on completion of the race and 8 days postrace.

The pro- and macroglycogen concentrations were lower and most amino acid concentrations were higher in the muscle after the finish of the race, than 8 days postrace, whereas the triglyceride concentrations did not differ. The concentrations of several amino acids in serum were higher during the recovery phase than before the race. The observed changes suggest that an endurance race influences amino acid metabolism and a net protein degradation may occur that persists during the recovery phase. Furthermore, the results suggest that macroglycogen is utilised to a greater extent than proglycogen during an endurance race. Further research is needed concerning amino acid metabolism during an endurance race as it seems to play an important role both for performance and recovery after exercise.