Home 9 Physiology 9 Longitudinal monitoring of the racehorse’s fitness

As racehorses are true athletes, monitoring their health and performance is essential. Following a racehorse over time allows us to look at the three most important aspects of a racehorse’s performance: fitness, speed and locomotion. This longitudinal monitoring is a preventive tool for the health of the athletic horse. It also allows the evolution of performance to be monitored and any early signs of pathology in the horse to be detected.

1- Is my horse ready to run? Let’s compare his fitness level with the fitness level of a training session preceding a good race

Analyzing and comparing a horse’s current state of fitness to the state of fitness it had when it performed well in a race allows the trainer to make a more accurate opinion of the horse’s ability to run well on the day. It also allows the trainer to check the horse’s physical condition before the race.

Here we will observe the elasticity of the horse’s heartbeat. Indeed, a horse is considered to be in good shape when it is able to rise very quickly in heart rate (HR) when the effort intensifies and to fall back down just as quickly once the intensity of the effort decreases. In the example below, we can see that the horse manages its effort better since it does not reach its HR Max. Good effort management is also marked by an improvement in recovery 15 min after the effort: 81 bpm in the training preceding the good race and 74 bpm in the last training.

 It is also useful to look at the reference times for the best 200m and 600m to be sure of the horse’s performance level. Equivalent split times between the two training sessions would mean that the horse is potentially in the same state of fitness.


 2 – Detecting the warning signs of a pathology

EQUIMETRE comes to be the ideal tool for the trainer and the veterinarian in monitoring the fitness of the horse. Indeed, by extracting the ECG, heart rate and speed of the horse during exercise it is possible to analyse and detect possible pathologies before they become too important and dangerous for the horse. These analyses allow, for example, the detection of anomalies in the horse’s recovery times, locomotion problems or the detection of cardiac pathologies thanks to the analysis of the ECG. For more precision and accuracy in the analysis of these data, it is possible to call the veterinarian who will be able, on the spot or remotely, to review these data and answer the trainer’s questions. 

In this example, we notice that the horse has an unusual heart rate, which is the first warning sign of an anomaly in the horse. With the extracted ECG, we can go further and detect that the horse is suffering from cardiac arrhythmias. The ECG reveals heart rhythm disorders. Thanks to the use of EQUIMETRE in training, the trainer was able to detect an anomaly in the horse and to conduct a more detailed analysis with a veterinarian. With such a follow-up, the horse’s problem can be solved before it becomes more serious or fatal. 

Key words: racehorse fitness follow up, fitness evaluation, fitness monitoring, horse heartbeat, horse heart rate monitor, detecting pathologies, ECG, horse ECG