Exercise Physiology

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why does the Equine Science Center study how horses exercise?
One of the reasons is to learn how to keep athletic horses happy and healthy. But it’s also because human bodies react similarly to horses during and after exercise. By researching horses as they exercise, scientists at the Equine Science Center have come up with ways to help humans too.

Can horses become dehydrated just like humans?
Horses lose water from both urination and sweat. In fact, horses are the only animal that sweats just like humans. In the lab, we determine their hydration by measuring Total Protein. Total protein is the concentration of protein in plasma. The more concentrated the sample, the more water was lost due to sweat during exercise.

How can horses run so fast?
Horses have a HUGE spleen! The spleen is where red blood cells (RBCs) are stored. During exercise, the spleen squeezes out its storage of RBCs. RBCs are important because they carry up to four oxygen molecules at a time and supply all of those working muscles with fuel to exercise horse power!

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How do you measure red blood cells in horses
We determine how much RBCs are in blood by running a test called Packed Cell Volume (PCV). To measure PCV, scientists first have to separate RBCs from the plasma in blood. The higher the percentage of plasma means the more RBCs were squeezed out of the spleen.

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