Before and After: Checking Equine Fitness Coming Out of Quarantine

While circumstances remain uncertain and subject to change on short notice, we’re feeling a bit more positive here at team Hylofit as the world slowly begins to reopen. What the post-pandemic world will look like when the dust settles remains to be seen, but it’s encouraging to see some signs of life as it used to be coming back.

As we’re cautiously getting back in the saddle, we’ve started thinking about our horses and how this downtime has affected them. One thing you may be wondering about is whether or not your horse has lost fitness during quarantine. We gathered some ways you can do a “fitness check-in” with your horse (and yourself!) as you get ready to ramp back up into training.

One of the best ways to know your horse’s normal heart rate averages is to do regular Baseline rides. Using Hylofit to track your rides makes it easier to maintain good records of each reading. Learn more about Baseline rides here. 

If you have done regular Baseline rides, you can log into the Hylofit web interface using your app credentials to do further analysis on the data. Using the Compare Rides feature on our website, you can see how your rides stack up to each other.

You may see a slower recovery rate in your most recent Baseline ride (an indicator of possible loss of fitness) or a higher average heart rate for both yourself and your horse during the ride. Both of these are ways to determine both of your levels of fitness. 

Here are some guidelines for logging into the Hylofit web interface to analyze your heart rate data and ride summaries:

Recovery Reminder: Check your horse’s heart rate at 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes following exercise. Most horses should be back around 100 bpm within 2 minutes and back below 60 bpm within 10 minutes. Like humans, slower recovery rates mean less fitness. 

If you haven’t done a Baseline ride yet or recently, it’s perfectly ok! Now is a great time to start. Make careful note of your horse’s averages and recovery rates, as this can give you insight into how much fitness he loses or gains over time. 

Remember, in general, as your horse gets more fit you will see the following improvements*:

  • Quicker heart rate recovery times at 2, 5, and 10 minute checks
  • Lower average heart rate during the same work intensity

The best way to know if your horse is feeling his best is to keep good records and take regular note of vital signs and overall wellbeing. Each horse is an individual, so backing up your instinct and feel with data will give you more peace of mind when it comes to making sure each one gets tailored care. 

*It’s important to remember that consulting with a veterinarian and regularly tracking your horse’s heart rate is all a part of determining fitness. It’s better to know what is normal/healthy for your horse instead of trying to fit the data into a box or specific range, as every horse can be different.

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