Reasons for performing study: Mangalarga-Marchador is a popular 4-gaited Brazilian horse breed; however, there is little information about their metabolic and physiological response to exercise.
Objectives: To measure physiological and metabolic responses of the Mangalarga-Marchador to a simulated marcha field test and to compare these responses between 2 types of marcha gaits (picada and batida).
Methods: Thirteen horses were used in the study and randomly assigned to either the picada or batida gait for the simulated marcha field test (speed ∼3.2 m/s; 30 min; load ∼80 kg).
Measurements: Included body composition, heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), glucose (GLUC), lactate (LACT), packed cell volume (PCV), total plasma protein (TPP), albumin, urea, creatinine, total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, creatine kinase, alanine, glutamate and glutamine (GLN). Measurements were obtained pretest (control/fasting), immediately after simulation (T0), and 15 (T15), 30 (T30) and 240 (T240) min after the simulation. Lactate (LACT) was measured at T0, T15 and T30. Data were analysed using ANOVA, Tukey's test and t tests with significance set at P<0.05.
Results: Significant acute changes were observed in HR, RR, [GLUC], [LACT], [TPP], PCV and [GLN] (P<0.05) relative to control. Heart rate fell below 60 beats/min at T15 and RR recovered to pretest values by T240. Significant increases in [GLUC], [LACT], PCV and [TPP] and a decrease in [GLN] were observed at T0. Treatment and interaction effects were also observed between marcha types and time of sampling for HR, RF, PCV, and [LACT] (P<0.05). These parameters were large in picada.
Conclusion: The simulation of field-test produced changes in some physiological and blood parameters in marcha horses, with some degree of dehydration during recovery period. Also, it was demonstrated that picada horses spend more energy when compared with batida horses at the the same speed.
Potential relevance: Batida horses expend less energy when compared with picada horses, which will need special attention in their training and nutritional management.