Friday, January 30, 2009

Use of heart rate and GPS during the training process

Heart rate stuff has been around forever, but two recent advancements have now made this technology a valuable asset to any horseman: GPS functionality, and computer software analysis.

Now you can see objective, quantitative data that illustrates the effectiveness of your training regimens, as well as highlights potential soundness issues. In effect, you have a fitness monitoring system that allows you to learn more about your horses during 3 weeks of training than you typically might learn over 3 months of racing.

Everyone knows that horses are unique individuals, now you can design customized training protocols to fit each horse at any moment in time. Truly allow each to reach his/her potential in the safest and quickest manner possible.

Heart Rate is the best indicator of exercise intensity.

It is the sum total of breeding, environment, and trainer-controlled variables such as gallop speed, distance, and frequency of exercise.

Some horses possess large hearts as evidenced by ultrasound as a yearling, but lack the conformation to move efficiently. Others post modest heart scores but have a way of going that requires little energy outlay. Yet others lack the proper enzyme levels and/or blood chemistry to finish strongly.

All of these factors can me measured, and therefore improved with proper training intensities. To sum up, the lower the heart rate at any given speed, the fitter the animal.

How the heart rate responds with increasing and decreasing gallop speeds allows us to pinpoint the current level of conditioning, and detail precisely what amount of work is needed to improve. Never fall victim to the ‘too much, too soon’ syndrome again.

This forms the basis for everything that ThoroEdge does, because having a system that can prove, on the training track, that these other ‘edges’ truly make a difference in any individual horse, is the core of our service.

Racing is full of so many variables such as trip, surface, travel, rider, traffic, etc. that uncovering a truly improved performance can take quite a long time – whereas in the mornings on the training track, those variables are constant.

There are 3 main providers of the equipment: etrakka, polar equine, and Vmax. A later post will debate the pros and cons of each.

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