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"Listen to His Heart"
by Denny Emerson

Polar® Equine Easy

Polar® Equine Healthcheck

Polar® Wellness Kit
Monitor your horse's vital signs while you ride

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Measure your horse's response to exercise and training while on the ground

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Keep track of your horse's health and monitor his response to training

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About Monitoring Your Horse's Heart Rate

Heart rate responds instantly to any mental, physical or emotional condition of your horse including exercise, rest, pain, fear, excitement, illness or injury. As you become familiar with his normal heart rates for various kinds of gaits, terrain, weather and levels of exertion, higher than normal heart rates can alert you to immediate or impending problems such as over fatigue, injury, pain or illness.

Know How Hard Your Horse is Working
Their is a direct relationship between heart rate and how hard your horse is working. In general terms, the higher its heart rate the harder it is working. Effort level is the key to a training program. Working too hard for too long invites over fatigue and injury. Working to easy provides little fitness or training benefit.

How Fit is your Horse?
Improvements in your horse's fitness can easily measured by exercise and recovery heart rates. Week by week as you train your horse, you can see if he is becoming more fit if his heart rate becomes progressively lower at a given running speed. As a horse becomes more fit, he can cover the same distance, at the same speed, with a lower heart rate. In addition, increased fitness is reflected in a more rapid decline in heart rate after the completion of exercise (recovery heart rate).

Monitor Your horse during Interval Training
Two important components of interval training are (1) the intensity (or hardness) of the interval and (2) the recovery period between each interval. Depending on the type of training, recovery periods of 3-5 minutes are often used with a suggestion the horse's heart rate should be below 100 bpm by the end of the recovery period. If it takes longer than 3-5 minutes for the heart rate to "recover" to 100 BPM or below, this may suggest your program is too hard, your horse is injured, ill or in pain, or he or she has just had enough for the day. "Recovery heart rate" after an exercise exercise shows how quickly heart rate drops and is an essential indicator of horse health and fitness.

See How Your Horse Responds to New Equipment, Skills, Trails, Terrain
When your horse is exposed to new riding terrain, a new rider, new equipment, new challenges, new sights or sounds etc, his heart rate may be abnormally high. As the horse adapts and becomes more relaxed and familiar with the new skill, equipment or terrain, his heart rate should return to its original lower level. A heart rate monitor allows you to have an easy and accurate way to measure of how your horse is learning and coping with any change to a normal routine.

Train safely and effectively!
With a heart rate monitor you can see train safely and effectively and also record and analyze your exercise sessions.*

Example: "10 minute warm-up at 120-130 bpm, 15 minutes between 140- 150 bpm and 10 minute warm-down at a heart rate of less than 120 bpm".
Polar downloading heart rate monitors allow you to record exercises for one or many horses in the wrist watch memory. You can later download to computer to keep an "at a glance" daily, weekly and monthly record.

Check on your horse while while traveling in a trailer
Your horse's heart rate is very responsive to physical and emotional stress. Measuring and recording your horse's heart rate can give you excellent information on you horses condition while traveling. Abnormally high heart rates are an immediate sign of distress. Heart rate can easily be sent from the horse in a trailer up to the driver or passenger.

Swimming your horse
Many horses swim as part of an exercise or rehab program. This is because swimming is useful for keeping joints moving and muscles toned as well as conditioning the cardiovascular and respiratory (heart and lung) systems. But how hard is your horse working when it swims? Some horses are good swimmers, some are poor, while others are just plain lazy when in the water. Using the waterproof POLAR heart rate monitor, you now have a measure of exactly 'how hard' your horse is working during its swimming session.

Is your horse anxious or fearful?
Because heart rate shoots up immediately with fear or anxiety, a heart rate monitor allows a rider to better understand a horses emotional state. Just standing in place, a horses heart rate can jump 50-80 beats per minute if he is suddenly excited, anxious or fearful. His heart rate will drop once a strong emotional state passes. A heart rate monitor allows you to better understand his moods and emotions.

If You Love your Horse, Listen to his Heart
Since your horse can't talk, "listening to his heart" helps you better care for and protect your horse. You'll have a better sense if you horse is getting enough of the right kind of exercise, if he's calm or anxious and fearful, if he's becoming more fit, or giving you signs of injury or illness.