Mathematical modelling of tendon thermodynamics predicted that the temperature of the central core of the equine superficial digital flexor tendon would plateau at 11 degrees C above the tendon surface temperature during a sustained gallop. A mean temperature differential (between tendon core and surface) of 5.4 (S.E. +/- 1.0) degrees C was demonstrated in vivo in four horses. Peak intra-tendinous temperatures in the range 43-45 degrees C were recorded. Temperatures above 42.5 degrees C are known to result in fibroblast death in vitro [Hall (1988) Radiobiology for the Radiologist, 3rd Edn., pp. 294-329]. These in vivo recordings provide a possible aetiology for the degenerative changes that are observed in the central core of tendons in both equine and human athletes.