Monday, July 6, 2009

Heart rate, velocity, and the breeding game

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to a leading farm here in Lexington that spurred them to action, producing very good results to the bottom line, in terms of identifying foals with higher than average racing potential:

Dear Breeder-

Pedigree, conformation, biomechanics, heart score, etc. are facts and figures put on paper meant to predict future thoroughbred performance.

But races are run on the track, not on paper.

Physiological testing of your foals provides you with an inside glimpse of how efficiently all of the horse’s systems work together during the stresses of actual exercise.

You can now rate your foals on athletic performance based on data gathered from real life sub-maximal training.

For instance, here is one example of the data generated by heart rate and GPS monitoring:

V200 is the velocity/speed achieved at a heart rate of 200bpm (beats per minute) and is indicative of the aerobic capacity of the thoroughbred.

This aerobic capacity is a measurement of the foal’s ability to utilize oxygen to fuel exercise demands, higher speeds at V200 will lead to better racing performance.

Research has given us the following values for V200 in thoroughbred foals:

· V200 range for foals at 6 months of age:
8.51mph to 11.93mph

· V200 range for foals at 1 year:
9.94mph to 13.24mph

· V200 range at start of yearling race training:
11.93mph to 14.91mph

How do your equine athletes match up?
Which are the future racing stars?
Which are at risk of lameness?