Preparing for and competing in the heat: the human perspective

Equine Vet J Suppl. 1995 Nov;(20):8-15. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.1995.tb05002.x.


This review provides an overview of the challenges that face man and horses when exercising in the heat. Some of the strategies that are used and are being developed for human athletes exercising in the heat are reviewed. There are many similarities between human and equine physiological responses to exercise in the heat; and equine exercise science may gain some useful insights from the training, fluid replacement and heat acclimatisation strategies used by human athletes. There are, however, some important differences that impact on the ability of horses to thermoregulate and to regulate fluid and electrolyte balance. The major differences are the low surface area to body mass ratio in horses compared to man; and the high metabolic capacity of equine skeletal muscle. These 2 factors may limit the ability of horses to dissipate heat when exercise is performed under hot conditions. Some of the more important equine differences are highlighted within the context of the "human perspective'.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Clothing
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Dehydration / prevention & control
  • Dehydration / veterinary
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fluid Therapy / veterinary
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*