We often talk about horsemanship and the idea of having a relationship with your horse. It's true: one of the most special aspects of riding horses is the fact that you're establishing a connection with another living being. It's a crazy thought, isn't it?
The Hylofit team recently had the privilege of meeting endurance rider Janet Bucksnort, a professional with thousands of miles of competition and training under her belt. We also had the opportunity to meet her Arabian gelding, Sedona.
As we put the Hylofit on Sedona for the first time, Janet commented on the fact that his resting heart rate was typically very low - usually in the 30s or 40s. But interestingly, when the Hylofit was connected, Sedona's resting heart rate registered in the high 60s.
Pictured above: A shot from the Ride Summary showing Sedona's higher-than-normal resting heart rate.
"Let me try something," Janet said, untying Sedona and leading him to a nearby arena. She stood with him quietly, gently petting his face. As Sally, Hylofit's Marketing Manager, stood at the gate watching the Hylofit app, she noticed the gelding's heart rate dropping immediately. Janet immediately furrowed her brow, curious as to why her horse might be unsettled. Outwardly, he showed no signs of discomfort. The only thing different from his usual routine was the presence of Sally and the fact that he'd been standing a bit longer than usual waiting to go out for a ride.
In less than a minute, Sedona's heart rate had dropped into its normal resting range of mid-30s. You can see this drop in the Ride Summary screenshot above. Janet smiled as she led Sedona from the ring.
This simple, quiet moment with the horse she's had for years was enough to reassure him that the stranger's presence and the slight shift from routine was nothing to be concerned about. Without the real-time heart rate data, she may never have known that her horse was feeling unsettled. In addition, having the baseline knowledge of what Sedona's normal resting heart rate was instrumental in identifying the issue. Every horse is unique in heart rate - for some horses, a resting heart rate of 60 might be normal. This is why it's important to know your own horse, so that you can better know when something is off.
How often does our own anxiety betray us? Sure, on the outside we may hold it together remarkably well. But our insides tell a much different story. This tension can cause us to have poor reactions, be more reactive to stimulus, or just overall cause us to perform less than our best. When you apply this concept to our horses, the benefit of knowing them from the inside out becomes more clear.