We live in a time and age where tracking your health is easier than ever. Your Apple Watch is monitoring your heart rate. A FitBit counts your steps. All that data is then logged away, and is generally pretty simple to share with a doctor when needed.
Technology makes it easy to track and share these day-to-day health metrics, which are far more important for managing good, healthy outcomes than many of us realize.
The same can be said about keeping track of your horse’s heart health. Do you know his resting heart rate? Here are three important reasons why you should be paying attention to those beats-per-minute even when you’re out of the saddle.
Recognizing Pain In A Stoic Horse
There are the dramatic types and then the stoic types. Horses who are generally more stoic in their personalities don’t always display recognizable signs of pain or illness right away. By regularly measuring the horse’s heart rate, a rider and owner can keep tabs on any irregular or erratic behavior that may require more attention. If an issue like this does arise, then that horse owner is also equipped with real data they can share with their veterinarian right away.
Managing Rest and Recovery
Winter is often the off season for many riders in cold-weather parts of the country. That means competition horses usually get an extended time off work this time of year. This is a great period to get a baseline of your horse’s resting heart rate, and to measure recovery during less strenuous hacks. That data can be applied when the time comes to start building fitness again in the spring.
To Plan Accordingly
Having access to weeks or months worth of heart rate data (the more, the better) can help a horse owner plan for their horse’s future. That can be both fitness-related, like adding interval training to move up a level, or health-related, as in changing diet to better support the circulatory system. The more blood pumped around the body, the more oxygen it can absorb from the lungs to transport to the muscles. There are a number of supplements on the market aimed at improving blood circulation, but it’s nearly impossible to know if a horse truly needs that additional support without monitoring heart health indicators, like heart rate.