The truth is, the uses for heart rate data truly belong on a never ending list. The value that health data brings to the table for horse owners cannot be underestimated.
Even horse owners who don’t compete or train particularly hard can benefit from the everyday applications of heart rate. Hylofit is dedicated to making the gathering and utilizing of heart rate data easy for every horse.
Now let’s move the lens to using a heart rate monitor on your horse in everyday management as well as rehabilitation.
Using Heart Rate During Therapeutic Treatments
Tracking a horse’s heart rate during therapeutic treatments can yield an inside look at how that treatment is affecting her. Generally speaking, therapies such as magnetic pulse, lasers, Theraplate, massage, and many others have a relaxing effect on a horse as they release pain and tension.
This impact can be seen via lower recorded heart rates during treatment. Sometimes, a therapist might hit on a particularly sensitive spot during a treatment andthe sensitive or painful area may elicit a spike in heart rate.
Here’s a recent example from I Go Support and Horse Beat, based in the Netherlands:
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What can monitoring heart rate during a therapy session tell you? Let's hear from@igosupportnl / @horsebeatnl (translated from Dutch): Measuring is knowing! Ilse van Horsebeat and I took another measurement during the massage of her horse Eldar to see if what we see, feel and experience is also consistent with what the horse's heart rate indicates. The 'peak' in the measurement was related to the moment of the first contact with the massage device and it quickly fell back to relaxation. The effect of the pulsating magnetic neck blanket that I later also applied to the back and the response to it was one of complete surrender. // // #hylofit #HowWeHylofit #knowyourride #nevermissabeat #attheheartofitall #horse #horses #horsesofinstagram #horsetraining #horsecare #equestrian #lovemyhorse #equestrianlife #horseshow #horseshowlife #equestrianapp #horsehealth #equinescience #horsecare
Using Heart Rate to Inform Nutritional Decisions
Many humans will track their energy expenditure (essentially, calories burned) each day using health devices such as an Apple Watch, Whoop, or FitBit. This information can then be used to formulate the right nutrition program for our individual needs.
Until recently, much of the determinations around equine dietary needs have been based on general ranges and breed/discipline characteristics. We recently partnered with The Feedroom Nutrition to integrate heart rate into a formula for equine energy expenditure.
Use of this formula can help horse owners better inform their nutritional decisions based on each horse’s specific needs and activity level. You can learn more about this here.
Using Heart Rate for Diagnosis, Rehabilitation and Recovery from Injury
Horses tend to find many ways in which to injure themselves - it’s the eternal struggle of a horse owner! Diagnosing an injury can be tricky, especially if a horse doesn’t exhibit many physical signs of distress. In many cases, the owner picks up on something “not quite right” in the horse’s way of going or mannerisms.
Monitoring heart rate during a lameness or other veterinary exam can help with providing more details on what’s going on inside the horse. Remember: an abnormally high heart rate can be indicative of pain. Let’s say a horse trots off after flexion on the right hind and exhibits a normal heart rate, but exhibits a much higher heart rate after flexion on the left.
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What conclusions could you draw? Not only are you looking for the obvious signs of lameness and pain, but now you’re adding another piece of information that can be helpful in pinpointing the issue.
During the rehabilitation process, using Hylofit to monitor the horse’s heart rate at rest and during hand or tack walking can also provide insight on what’s going on inside.
As the horse comes back into training, use the Hylofit to monitor recovery to ensure that the horse is not over exerting herself as she returns to full fitness.
Coming next, we’ll talk about the importance of Baseline measurements and talk to several Hylofit users on their Baseline observations.