Project Details


Losses of top equine athletes at Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games and Thoroughbred Triple Crown Races, have provoked public interest in the performance and welfare of competitive horses. Oxidative stress has become recognized as one of the possible harms. Oxidative stress occurs when the antioxidant defense system in the body is overwhelmed with harmful oxidizing agents. If the accumulation of these agents becomes too great it can be damaging to the DNA, protein and lipids in cells. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of certain diseases (e.g. cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer's disease) and has been linked with the aging process and exercise. There is evidence showing that oxidative stress does exist in the intensely exercising horse; however, there has never been an attempt to quantify the oxidative stress or muscle oxidation in the young growing horse in training. It is also not easily determined how much nutrition would play a role in their stress level during exercising training. The ability to decrease the stress of athletic performance in racehorses is particularly important to both the racehorse owner, riders and trainers, but also the rest of the horse industry of New Jersey. Therefore, the research described in this proposal directly relates to the mission of the NJAES. By enabling NJ horse owners and enthusiast to remain competitive in the state will preserve the industry, which has given NJ the right to call the horse the state recognized animal. Horses will also be able to obtain their maximal growth rates which will improve their performance on the track. This will lead to fewer injuries on the racetrack, and fewer careers being abruptly ended for these young horses. The results of this study would also lead to future research being conducted and supported by stakeholders. Methods will be utilized to test and compare 2-year old horses to mature horses and to non exercising young horses to see if their muscle metabolism and performance is compromised during the exercise period.
Effective start/end date7/1/096/30/14


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))


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