In order to compare horses over time, it is necessary to compare reliable parameters for which the training will have an influence. For example, the HR max will be very little changed with training, whilst the physiological adaptation will lead to a decrease in heart rate at a given speed (for submaximal exercise).
Which parameters can help to monitor the racehorse’s heart rate during training?
An increase in the gradient, the weight of the rider, a change in the type and condition of the track or weather conditions are all parameters that will have an influence on the heart rate. In order to compare a horse with itself or horses with each other, it is necessary that the training conditions are as comparable as possible.
V200 and Vmax
One of the most frequently used parameters in scientific literature to evaluate the fitness level is the V200, the speed at a heart rate of 200 BPM. Training improves the amount of oxygen absorbed by the body, the heart rate will decrease for a given exercise. This results in an increase of the V200.
Thus, the best horses will tend to see a higher V200. (Figure 1)
However, since horses have different heart rates during exercise, this parameter should be used more to follow a horse over time than to compare horses against each other. The same goes for the speed at HR max, it will tend to increase in the same proportions as the V200 with training, thus pushing the horse’s ability to stay during the race without drawing heavily on its resources and so finish the race.
With training, the horse must improve his ability to recover from a given exercise. The stabilization level after rapid decent and the recovery level after 30 minutes are two very good indicators of the horse’s ability to recover.
A significant increase in recovery time can be synonymous with significant fatigue, which can be related to pathology or overtraining.
The training of the horse will lead to multiple changes not only with the heart but also muscle.
All these changes are linked together and some are reflected in the extent of the heart rate during exercise. The knowledge of the maximum heart rate is essential to quantify the levels of work and recovery, specific to each horse. This allows a Trainer to define the work areas related to the improvement of certain physiological parameters. In addition, knowledge of characteristic heart rates and recovery times can be used to evaluate increases in abnormal signs that may be pre-cursors of an emerging pathology or fatigue.
How to use EQUIMETRE to monitor the racehorse’s heart rate at training
This tool allows objective analysis of training for all disciplines in the equine sector.
The daily use of EQUIMETRE, based on standardized exercises, offers the ability to follow the level of fitness of the horses, to compare them and thus to individualise the training, in particular in relation to the cardiac response of each horse.
Complimenting the training process with objective data, such as those measured by EQUIMETRE, maximizes the effectiveness of decision-making on race commitments and success. Today, all top athletes are supported in their training programmes by objective analysis of physiological data.
EQUIMETRE is a solution for measuring the physiological parameters of the Equine athlete.
Due to the erognomic design for the training of racehorses, with an easy and intuitive setup process, EQUIMETRE offers the ability to measure a large number of parameters such as speed, heart rate (from the electrocardiogram) and stride parameters (length and rythmn) even during training at racing intensity. A unique data visualization platform provides the ability to rerun each training session and analyze recorded measurements.
Key words: racehorses monitoring, racehorses cardio, fitness follow up, racehorse performance