Physiological responses of horses competing at a modified 1 star 3-day-event.

C. W. Kohn, K. W. Hinchcliff, L. J. McCutcheon, R. Geor, J. Foreman, A. K. Allen, S. L. White, P. L. Maykuth, L. H. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The impending 1996 summer Olympic 3-day-event in Atlanta has focused attention on the need to determine what modifications to the demanding Endurance Test will be required to ensure safety of the horses competing. Three groups of horses participated in a Field Trial held in August of 1994 in northern Georgia to determine the safety and feasibility of conducting a modified 3-day-event in hot, humid weather. One group (TD) completed a modified 1 Star 3-day-event test, a control group (HT) completed a Horse Trial identical to the modified 1 Star test except for the omission of Phases B and C and the third group (E), comprised of European horses, completed the modified 1 Star test with a longer, faster Phase C than was used for TD. During the Endurance Test, the ambient temperature and relative humidity ranged from 24.3 degrees C and 98.9% in the morning to 30.2 degrees C and 51.6% in the afternoon. No horse failed to complete the Trial because of heat stress or fatigue. There were no significant (P < 0.05) differences detected in heart rate, rectal temperature, respiratory rate or net weight loss between HT and TD horses at any observation time. The highest rectal temperature recorded at the end of Phase C was 39.6 degrees C. These findings suggest that the modified 1 Star Endurance Test was as well tolerated by American horses as the control Horse Trial test. Rectal temperature was significantly higher for E than for TD or HT at the finish of Phase C. European horses had significantly greater decreases in weight than HT and TD at the end of Phases C and D and the next day. These findings probably reflect the faster and longer work effort of E horses during Phase C. Modification of Phase C and the rest-pause to ensure that recovery and heat dissipation occurred before the start of Phase D resulted in a 3-day-event that was safe for horses. The Field Trial provides a model for designing a modified Olympic Endurance Test. If the 1996 Olympic 3-day-event is held in hotter and more humid weather than the Field Trial, additional modifications to the Endurance Test (decreased distances, speeds and numbers of jumping efforts) will probably be required to ensure safety of competing horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalEquine veterinary journal. Supplement
Issue number20
StatePublished - Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes

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    Kohn, C. W., Hinchcliff, K. W., McCutcheon, L. J., Geor, R., Foreman, J., Allen, A. K., White, S. L., Maykuth, P. L., & Williamson, L. H. (1995). Physiological responses of horses competing at a modified 1 star 3-day-event. Equine veterinary journal. Supplement, (20), 97-104.