The effect of strenuous exercise on the functional capacity of pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAM) and bronchoalveolar lavage-derived lymphocytes was determined in eight horses prior to and after 7 weeks of training. Strenuous exercise had no effect on the total cell count or the percentage of live cells in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples prior to or following training. However, training was associated with a significant increase in the total cell count of pre-exercise BAL samples and a significant reduction in the percentage of live cells in post-exercise samples. Strenuous exercise was associated with impaired phagocytosis by PAM after 7 weeks of training but had no effect on similar samples obtained from untrained horses. The oxidative burst activity of PAM was significantly increased following strenuous exercise for both untrained and trained horses. BAL-derived lymphocyte oxidative burst was similarly affected following training. These results suggest that strenuous exercise and training may influence pulmonary immune cell function.