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Thursday, 26 July, 2018

Understanding Seaver’s « heart rate » feature

The Seaver girth and girth sleeve calculate your horse/pony’s heart rate during training. Thanks to our scientifically tested and adapted electrodes, with the Seaver connected equipment you have access to the heart rate of your four-legged partner with scientific precision in real time.

What is my horse’s heart rate?

At rest, a healthy adult horse has an average heart rate of 30 to 45 beats per minute. It can go up to 70 for foals. During training, the heart rate will increase with the changing gait and speed, and can reach up to 240 beats per minute at the fastest gallop. However, it must quickly go back down with recovery.

These data should be adjusted based on your horse and discipline. For example, an endurance horse will naturally have a lower heart rate at rest. Several parameters can affect the heart rate: excitement, stress, fatigue, the ground, an early lameness or a systemic disease.

Monitoring your horse's heart rate during each workout will give you an overall view of your horse's health.

Why is it interesting for riders to know their horse’s heart rate during training?

--> Knowing the training’s intensity

The heart rate is the ultimate indicator of the effort provided by your horse and its intensity. The electrodes placed inside your Seaver girth will allow you to know the actual intensity of your exercise, and thus to work on the physical condition of your horse.

By checking your application's home screen, you will be able to know the heart rate of your horse in real time - i.e. the number of heart beats per minute at that moment.

After the trainings session, you will have access to a detailed chart of the heart rate’s evolution during your last session. Colors distinguish between different work intensities to help you make sure you are properly working your horse without altering his health.

- green corresponds to a light intensity workout. In this range the horse’s heart rate is below 110 beats per minute.

- orange represents the moderate intensity range. Here the horse’s heart rate lies between 110 and 170 beats per minute.

- red symbolizes high intensity training, when the heart rate of the horse is above 170 beats per minute. Be careful when training at this intensity, as it may present a risk to the horse's health. A brief spike in this range during a violent or important effort is however not alarming, as long as the following recovery period is quick. Stress can also provoke a rapid and momentary increase of your horse’s heart rate.

--> Understanding the type of training

In addition to your horse’s average and maximum heart rate for the session, the Seaver app also provides the time spent training at light, moderate or high intensity.

Indeed, in addition to tracking the number of beats per minute of your horse, Seaver differentiates between simple calorie-burning activity (in green), cardio training (in orange), and high intensity exercise (in red).

These data will allow you to make sure you are properly and sufficiently training your horse, avoiding overtraining. Too-intense training, too close to the horse’s limits, can cause serious diseases that will be associated with a decrease in performance. On the contrary, too low-intensity training will not improve the horse's health, but may be important for recovery. Finding the good balance is the key to success.

--> Seeing your horse’s progression

It is possible, by monitoring your horse’s heart rate, to see his progression.

Do the same exercise with your horse 4 weeks apart, with the exact same characteristics (speed, duration, recovery time, number of series and repeats,…), and compare the heart rate. If the heart rate during the exercise a month later has decreased of about 10 bpm, then you can consider that the training done over the 4 weeks has been efficient, as your horse is now more sparing for the same exercise, and thus that he has made progress.

Let’s take a concrete example of an amateur jumping rider. Walking out of the arena after a jumping course, the rider decides to check his horse’s heart rate after 2 minutes at the walk : 110 bpm. 3 weeks later, on another show but after a course of the same difficulty level, the rider sees that his horse’s heart rate after 2 minutes of walking is 100 bpm. The rider can thus consider that 1) the physical condition and 2) the cardiac recovery capacity of his horse have improved.

Please note that temperature and the environment (stress…) can disrupt / affect the cardiac responses. For more information on the way heat can impact horses’ heart rate and performance, go read our article on the subject.

--> Knowing the number of calories burned by the horse

Training your horse leads to an increase in his energy expenditure compared to a rest situation that initially results from the motion of the muscles, and also from the increased activity of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Knowing the heart rate at all times allow us to deduce the energy spent by the horse and thus the calories burned in real time.

According to studies carried out by the INRA2, a healthy adult horse trotting at a speed of 18 km/h spends on average 160 kcal/min. When the latter canters at a speed of 21 km/h, his energy expenditure is 210 kcal/min. Of course, these values are representative: they will vary for each horse, depending on factors such as age, breed, sex and the environment.

On the home screen, you can track the number of calories burned by your horse in real time, i.e. the number of calories consumed since the beginning of your session. In the more detailed tabs of the application, you will find the total number of calories burned from your training session, the average energy expenditure of your horse in kcal/min, and its evolution over time.

Thus, by measuring the number of calories burned by your horse over time, Seaver gives you the necessary information to properly adjust his diet if need be.

 

See you soon for a new article on a Seaver feature!

The Seaver team

 

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Photo: Quentin Faucheur on the cross-country course of Jardy's CIC 3* (2018, FRA)

1 Martin-Rosset William (2012) Nutrition et alimentation des chevaux. Quae éditions, Versailles, 620

2 INRA (1984) Le cheval : reproduction, sélection, alimentation, exploitation (Jarrige R, Martin-Rosset W, eds). INRA, Versailles, 687