Dr David Evans is strong advocate of treadmill training in addition to racetrack training for equine athletes because:
- High speed gallops uphill on a treadmill can be administered at precisely the right speed to train heart, blood and muscle.
- Research shows that treadmill training in addition to regular track training in Japan had an added effect on fitness in yearlings.
- High speed treadmill training has shown to be safe, and of course racetrack training has high injury rates.
- Treadmill training allows regular measurements of fitness, enabling week-by-week assessments. These assessments also enable fitness of different horses to be compared.
- It is easier to give uphill treadmill gallops at exactly the right speed to build muscle resistance to fatigue.
- Training can be done at any time of the day – so freeing trainers from the constraints applied by racetrack administrators.
- Training can build fitness independent of the risks of high speed track gallops, without the added weight of a jockey. It also avoids risks of injuries associated with high speed gallops on racetracks, which are often inadequately maintained.
- Rehabilitation programs can be precisely controlled.
- Recovery in days after a race or after fast gallops on a track can be assessed.
- Fitness tests can be used to evaluate horses with poor performance.
- Fitness tests can be used to identify horses with lower probability of good race performance.
- Tests can be used to assist diagnosis of overtraining.