Heart Monitors Assist Training
As with human athletes, horses need to build up fitness and strength over a period of time before running in any racing events. Once a satisfactory fitness level has been achieved, it is crucial for trainers to maintain the horses in that condition and to ensure that they remain free of injury or illness. As technology has improved, so have the methods of assisting trainers and horse owners to keep their horses conditioned. Heart monitors have become an invaluable device for everyone in the horse racing industry, and a friend to the health and well-being of horses.
Monitoring the heart rate of a horse can tell trainers if the exercise that is being done with a certain horse is too stressful or too light to have any effect on the horse, and alert them if the horse is suffering from fatigue. The onset of illness or injury can often be detected through the heart rate of a horse. These changes in heart rate are measured through determining how quick the recovery time is after exercising and what the normal heart rate is for the specific horse according to their fitness level.
Learning to work with heart monitors and knowing how to calculate results will come in time, but there are a few points to look out for when starting. The average heart rate of a resting mature horse is usually between thirty to forty beats per minute. It is essential to remember that any outside stimulation, such as being affectionate towards the horse or even just applying the heart monitor could elevate the heart rate, so trainers and owners should use their discretion when measuring heart rates. Heart monitors are extremely accurate and in most instances a horse’s heart rate will overshoot threshold levels with the onset of exercise, which releases Epinephrine into the blood system. Readings should therefore only be analyzed after approximately two minutes of exercise, when the heart rate will become steady and a true heart rate recorded. It is also always vital to remember that heart rates do differ from horse to horse, and trainers will soon become accustomed to what is normal for each horse, therefore making it easier to determine if there is a fluctuation in the readings. Recovery period for heart rates is generally three to five minutes after training, exercising or breezing has been completed.
Heart monitors are not only used by trainers, but also by owners who are not always with their horses. The monitors will assist them in being able to download the monitor’s information to their computers to analyze their horse’s improvement and can also be used while a horse is being transported, to assess their stress levels and monitor how well they are traveling. Waterproof heart monitors assist when horses are put into swimming programs to tone their muscle or to stimulate recovery from an injury. Heart monitors can also detect how a horse responds to new terrain, riders, equipment or a change in routine.
Horses are such sensitive animals that their heart rates can reveal a lot of what the horse is experiencing physically and emotionally. Through the monitoring of their reactions and stresses, trainers are better equipped to deal with problems and assist the horses to a healthier life and success on the racetrack.