On December 14th, Hylofit came together with upper-level eventer Chelsea Kolman at her facility, Dauntless Performance Horses, in Versailles, Kentucky for a holiday celebration and demonstration. Unlike other barns in the area, Chelsea’s barn focuses on the unwanted horse and building confidence in the rider. Horses come in all shapes, sizes, breeds, and disciplines and because of this, Chelsea has become the girl who will take the dangerous horse, the blind horse, the broken horse, and really just any horse. No horse goes unnoticed in this program and Chelsea prides herself on listening to the each individual animal.
This theme of listening to your partner goes hand-in-hand with Hylofit’s goal of promoting wellness in both horse and rider, and reinforcing what your gut instinct is telling you. Chelsea believes that more companies need to steer in the direction of promoting equine health for the best interest of the horse. We all have that heartbreaking event, or incident, that imprints deeply on our soul. Chelsea feels that Hylofit will lead the industry to focus on prevention of catastrophic injuries and will give us information into what our horses are feeling in order to better come up with a game plan with our veterinarians and trainers. She believes that this product is not only good for injuries, but the video option will allow you to gauge when you feel your horse needs maintenance, prepare them for upper level cross country by seeing how quickly they recover from galloping, and hold students accountable to riding their horses for the appropriate amount of times before shows.
“There is a use for this product in every discipline because it boils down to the well-being of the horse and the rider. You can see a lot about yourself when you look at the data”
— Chelsea Kolman
During the demonstration, three horses were showcased: a 14 year old paint pony named Cane previously competing in eventing and liberty and bridless work, but now overweight and out of shape; an 11 year old percheron/ thoroughbred named Dante who failed as a police horse, but found his calling as Chelsea’s 3* eventer after years of building a bond together; and, a 13 year old Clydesdale named Eachann who failed as a potential Budweiser horse because he was born with a missing blaze and only three white socks.
All horse’s max heart rate were set equally at 180 beats per minute (bpm). The horses were then ridden in front of a crowd of 20+ people sitting on loud metal bleachers at the end of the arena. In the beginning of the ride, Cane’s heart rate rose quickly, from 35 to 123 (bpm) within the first two minutes during trot work while the rider’s heart rate stayed low. As the ride went on, some things were easier for Cane than for others, and he spent the bulk of his ride in zone 3 in aerobic power. As he went from trot to canter his heart rate climbed to 180 bpm and he recovered much slower than any of the other horses. This was interesting to see as he is a 14.2 pony who has had time off, gained weight, and knows how to use his body in a way that allows him to pace himself. He also is a horse that really feeds off of his rider because as Chelsea would let off of his mouth or change the way she rode, his heart rate would come down during the same activity where it had previously stayed higher which she felt was indicative of tension in his body.
Dante, Chelsea’s 3* eventer. In a normal ride, Dante’s heart rate never goes above approximately 80 bpm and the more he works the lower his heart rate gets which is unusual for most horses. During the party, his heart rate was elevated due to the anxiety of riding in front of a crowd. Dante spent almost triple the time Cane spent working and never got above 125 bpm. He did lead changes, tempes, and lateral movements with minor elevation and only left active recovery for 2 minutes of the ride. This is a testament to how fit an upper level horse is in comparison to the pony. Chelsea’s heart rate during this time was at 178 bpm, which is high. Normally she would not get above 150 bpm during a ride. When asked if she was nervous, she answered yes, as it had been awhile since Dante performed for a crowd. Although both their heart rates were higher than usual, they still stayed very in sync with their ride which Chelsea felt is indicative of the bond they have built over the past several years together.
Last but not least, was the 19+ hand Clydesdale, Eachann, meaning Big Brown Horse. In previous rides, he is hard to ride, out of shape, and Chelsea finds it is not the easiest to make a horse that large pick his feet up. With the crowd present, he came into the ring ready to go and moving forward. He was only ridden for five minutes and his max heart rate got to 148 bpm. His heart rate climbed quickly and recovered slowly. You can also see that Chelsea’s heart rate rose to 179 bpm as it took a lot of energy to keep Eachann moving. He spent some time in active recovery, but quickly moved into the other heart rate zones in under eight minutes.
All of these horses were able to show the crowd how the differences in horse heart rates through Hylofit. Some horses are fitter, some have more tension in body, some more in mind, and others only get excited because of the crowd. Previously, Chelsea and other riders may have thought the tension was because he felt stiff or needed to take a break, but Hylofit gives her that quantitative data that shows he gets nervous when performing and allows her to put that information aside to better handle life in the show ring moving forward.
During this time of year, I encourage everyone to take time to try a demo with Hylofit and see what your equine partner is feeling and how your heart rate compares to your partner’s. Not only is this time of year a great time to believe in the magic of Christmas, but why not believe in the magic of Hylofit to? You won’t be disappointed. - Brynn Jones
The Hylofit system is now available for $349 plus a membership plan.