One of the most unique features of Hylofit's unique heart rate monitor for horses is that you'll also find a heart monitor for riders included in the box. How nifty! Tracking both your and your horse's heart rate can yield some useful insights — but is it really necessary to wear the rider monitor during every ride? Here are some reasons why this is useful for riders of all ages and experience levels:
1. Using a heart rate monitor for riders tells you if you're working too hard
While some horses certainly require more..ahem..motivation..than others, the reality is that your horse should be responsive enough to your aids that you're not working inordinately harder than them.
When you ride with your Hylofit rider heart monitor, you'll find a graph in your Ride Summary that shows your horse's heart rate chart aligned with your own. This allows you to see if one of you is working harder or less than the other. Riding requires cooperation from both parties. Heart rate can help paint a picture of where you can improve this.
2. The Hylofit rider heart monitor is more accurate than a wrist or arm monitor
Our chest strap allows you to put the rider heart monitor on directly over your heart, rather than relying on a reading of a pulse on a different body part. This ensures a higher level of accuracy in reporting numbers. For additional accuracy and/or to improve your connection, use electrode gel
on both the rider chest strap and the horse girth attachment.
3. Rider fitness is an important metric to track
No, we don't mean you need to somehow find the time to go to the gym after the barn. But it is important to keep track of your own level of fitness. We cannot expect our horses to perform at their top level if we are not placing that same expectation on ourselves. It's simply not fair. Fitness for equestrians should be a key part of any rider's routine, especially those who wish to compete.
Tracking your own heart rate will help keep you on target for your personal fitness. Monitoring metrics such as your resting heart rate and heart rate recovery is also helpful for fitness purposes — you want to have a lower resting heart rate and a quicker recovery as you get more fit.
Want to see how your heart responds to riding? Drop your stirrups for a few minutes and do some posting trot or two-point work. Consider a lunge line lesson to test your core and seat. Practice your galloping position on uneven terrain. All of these examples may point out any holes in your fitness that need to be improved.
4. Tracking rider heart rate tells you how in sync you are with your horse
Riding is all about bond and partnership. We need to ride our horses with empathy — and we can approach our rides with more of that empathy if we know more about our partnership.
Take a look at this ride that U.S. eventing team rider Tamie Smith took with her 2019 Pan American Games partner, Mai Baum:
Note that the two lines don't diverge too far from each other at any point in the ride. If anything, Tamie's heart rate remains lower than Mai Baum's at his highest point, indicating that she stays calm through any excitement her horse may be experiencing.
Adding a heart monitor for horses and for you as the rider to your program is instrumental for success as the data provided gives you a true picture of your fitness as well as your partnership with your horse.
Pro Tip: When riding with your Hylofit rider transmitter, be sure to use electrode gel for a better connection. Secure the chest strap just over your heart directly on your skin (this cannot be worn over clothing).
Lead photo by Crystal Dawn/NoëlleFloyd.com
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