Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dr. Rick Arthur on Synthetics

From the New York Times:
"When racehorses are at their best, I am absolutely convinced they are safer on the synthetics than they are on dirt."

Let's say you agree with that statement, I probably do.
But there is a qualifier - 'when racehorses are at their best' how exactly can we figure this out?

Collect reams of data, that's how. Chart heart rate response, body weight, gallop speed, blood chemistry, etc. like a madman; organize the data, and draw your own conclusions.

The racing industry has the subjective data from trainers, owners, grooms, exercise riders, to name a few - down pat. Too much info in many cases, probably.

But they typically ignore a huge part of the puzzle, what is going on inside the horse?
How much oxygen/fuel does it take for him to breeze a half in :49 this week? Next week?

Charted over time, is he reaching an all time peak, or is he flattened out?
Don't wait for several race results to tell you, learn from the training stimulus.

What can you add prior to his gallops to make them easier (i.e. faster speeds with less oxygen necessary)? A food supplement, a different warm up routine, equipment change, rider change, Equissage treatment, acupuncture, HBOT?

Each stable should be treated like its own exercise physiology laboratory - constantly changing variables in order to find the optimal conditioning protocol for each individual, all backed up by quantitative and objective data.

Just my two cents, please call me if you are at the Keeneland sales this month and would like to meet face to face.


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