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Re: [RC] Lactic Acid article - Sisu West Ranch

If I remember my biochemistry from 1963 correctly, the metabolic pathway that changes sugar into energy and water and carbondioxide produces lactic acid partway through the pathway.
This part of the path, produces energy without requiring oxygen.  It is extremely useful because it enables energy to be produced faster that oxygen can be obtained from the air through the lungs.  Thus, the horse can sprint very fast to outrun the Lion.  Of course, the Lion's body is doing the same thing.
Now relatively quickly (a time frame of minutes) enough lactic acid builds up and the animal starts to feel fatigued.  If it is a person and they are playing for the Edmonton Oilers, they go to the bench and recover.  If they are a horse running in the Kentucky Derby, the race is over by that time. 
If they are a horse in an Endurance Ride, or a human Marathoner who is exercising at a rate greater than their lungs can supply oxygen for a long time (hours) they will start to get muscle cramps etc.  If you then add to this some genetic defects in the sugar storage/usage system you get a badly tied up horse.
The moral, is that if you expect an animal to exercise for many hours, they must exercise at an average rate equal or below that which can be sustained by the oxygen delivered by their lungs.  Note I said average.  A horse, or person, can "go anaerobic" for a short time going up a hill, and catch up later on the down hill.  During the catch up phase the lactic acid is utilized to produce energy and the final waste products water and carbon dioxide.
Ed & Wendy Hauser
2994 Mittower Road
Victor, MT 59875
(406) 642-9640

[RC] Lactic Acid article, Andrea Brand