OBJECTIVE: To determine effects of walking or standing on hepatic blood flow of horses after brief, intense exercise. ANIMALS: 6 adult Thoroughbreds (4 mares, 2 geldings). PROCEDURE: Horses were preconditioned on a treadmill to establish uniform level of fitness. Once fit, treadmill speed causing each horse to exercise at 120% of maximal oxygen consumption was determined and used in simulated races at 14-day intervals. In a three-way crossover study, horses were exercised at a speed inducing 120% of maximal oxygen consumption until fatigued or for a maximum of 2 minutes. Three interventions were studied: resting on the treadmill (REST), exercised then standing on the treadmill for 30 minutes (MS), and exercised then walking at 2 m/s for 30 minutes (MW). At 60 seconds after completion of exercise, bromsulphalein (BSP) was infused IV, and blood samples were collected every 2 minutes for 30 minutes for analysis of BSP concentration. Hematocrit and plasma total solids concentration were measured. Pharmacokinetic parameters were derived, using nonlinear regression, and were compared, using Friedman's repeated measures analysis on ranks. RESULTS: Plasma BSP concentration was higher after exercise. Median hepatic blood flow (BSP clearance) decreased significantly from 23.8 (REST) to 20.7 (MS) and 18.7 (MW) ml/min/kg. Median steady-state volume of distribution of BSP decreased from 47.6 (REST) to 42.7 (MW) and 40.2 (MS) ml/kg. Differences among trials were not significant when horses walked or stood after exercise. CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic blood flow and pharmacokinetics of BSP are markedly altered immediately after exercise. Limiting movement of horses during this period did not affect hepatic blood flow.