EQUINE HEART RATE – Did you know?

  • The resting heart rate of a horse is generally between 25 and 40 beats per minute (bpm) and the maximum heart rate is between 200 and 240 bpm.

  • Recovery is one of the best measurements of overall conditioning and is measured by calculating the time needed for the heart rate to return to a predetermined resting level after exercise.

  • Fatigue, fear, excitement, stress, illness and pain can all cause heart rate to increase.

  • A horse’s resting heart rate is genetically predetermined and does not change with improvements to overall fitness.

  • Knowing your horse’s resting heart rate can help with early detection of illness and injury

How do heart rate monitors work?

Heart rate monitors detect the electrical signals that tell the heart to beat; each signal triggers a physical contraction of the heart. For the most accurate readings, two conducting electrodes are placed on the horse, on either side of the heart. The electrodes capture the heart signal and transmit the information to a small receiver which displays the actual heart rate.

Why is it important to train with a heart rate monitor?

Heart rate is a very reliable indicator of your horse’s condition, when used before, during and after exercise. Since the cardiovascular system is responsible for delivering blood to the muscles and removing by-products of metabolism, it is central to the horse’s musculoskeletal system’s ability to function. Varying the intensity level of training regimens in response to when your horse is ready to push or needs to recover is essential for improving overall fitness. Monitor your horse’s heart rate to eliminate guesswork and reinforce your natural instincts when training.

How do you maximize training sessions with a heart rate monitor?

The most critical aspect of training with a heart rate monitor is establishing a baseline understanding of your horse’s fitness level at the beginning of training. A monitor enables you to determine how hard your horse is working at different stages of a training session. Comparing workouts over time provides insights into improvement to recovery time and conditioning. When the rider heartrate is also monitored, you can track the individual effort level of both athletes for a more comprehensive understanding of any training session.

Why is it important to know your horse’s resting heart rate?

Changes to a horse’s resting heart rate (RHR) can be an indication of overexertion, stress, illness or pain. Knowing the normal RHR of your horse is an important benchmark for understanding his overall health and wellbeing. Frequent monitoring of RHR is a great diagnostic tool. It can provide early detection for injury, help indicate recovery from intensive training or competition, and demonstrate readiness to train—when your horse can work hard versus when a lighter day is recommended.

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