Differences in the metabolic properties of gluteus medius and superficial digital flexor muscles and the effect of water treadmill training in the horse
Article first published online: 8 NOV 2010
© 2010 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal
Special Issue: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology
Volume 42, Issue Supplement s38, pages 665–670, November 2010
How to Cite
BORGIA, L. A., VALBERG, S. J. and ESSEN-GUSTAVSSON, B. (2010), Differences in the metabolic properties of gluteus medius and superficial digital flexor muscles and the effect of water treadmill training in the horse. Equine Veterinary Journal, 42: 665–670. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00229.x
- Issue published online: 8 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 8 NOV 2010
- [Paper received for publication 07.01.10; Accepted 16.06.10]
- oxidative capacity;
- heart rate;
- fibre type;
Reasons for performing study: Flexor tendon injury may be due to flexor muscle fatigue, contributing to fetlock joint hyperextension and tendon damage. A water treadmill provides resistance training on flexor tendon muscles, which might reduce the risk of tendon injury.
Objective: To determine the effect of water treadmill training on the properties of the gluteal and superficial digital flexor (SDF) muscles and on cardiocirculatory response to a standardised exercise test.
Methods: Five healthy unfit horses were trained on a water treadmill for 5 days/week for 4 weeks, starting with 5 min/day increasing to 20 min/day. Before and after the water treadmill training, an incremental SET was performed on a land treadmill to determine velocity at a heart rate 200 beats/min (V200) and resting gluteal and SDF muscle biopsies were obtained for biochemical analyses.
Results: There was no measurable difference in resting concentrations of gluteal or SDF muscle glycogen, lactate, ATP or glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), or activities of citrate synthase (CS), 3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (HAD) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) after training and no change in V200, Lactate, glycogen, G6P and ATP concentrations were 50% lower and type 1 fibres 30% higher in SDF compared to gluteal muscles. CS and HAD activities were similar between SDF and gluteal, while LDH was lower in the SDF muscle.
Conclusions: A more strenuous water treadmill conditioning protocol may be needed to induce a training effect in gluteal and SDF muscle and heart rate response. The low substrate concentrations and oxidative capacity of SDF may predispose this muscle to catastrophic fatigue during maximal exercise.