PDA

View Full Version : Heart Rate Monitors



Jess!
Nov. 27, 2007, 09:12 AM
Hi there. I've been a long time reader, but just now decided to join. I'm a LD rider, mostly 25's. I eventually hope to up to 50's, but not for another year or so as I just bought another endurance horse and I need to start breaking her before I can think about conditioning for an endurance ride.

Anyways, I have a question on heart rate monitors. Which are the best? I know of the ones available here:

http://www.equineperformanceproducts.com/hrm.htm

But how easy are they to use? And what target BPM do you want?

I've searched on Heart Rate Monitors before I posted, but only came up with a few threads that had minimal replies to them. :) I'd appreciate any help.

Oh, and just for fun, here are a few pictures. First is my old mare BPH Raffanna, who I sold, second is her full sister Miss Witzraff that was sold, as well :) Third one is my new prospect Kandee.


http://a659.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/107/l_5cece8ae0c4695babc62235692a706b2.jpg
http://a570.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/12/l_8129e62fe62355f85d487fbf416b4269.jpg
http://a407.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/43/l_ad81e2ee6a0b6de2bff450e35549cfce.jpg

Kyzteke
Nov. 27, 2007, 09:35 AM
I'm very new to the sport as well and I've been searching for HRM as well.

This is what I've learned:

Basically, there are only two brands. The VMax and the Polar.

The VMax was the first on the market and it was designed and made by an actual endurance rider. The Polar was not.

I wrote to Robert (I think that was his name...) the VMax guy and he was very prompt and helpful in his reply. Very knowledgable.

For instance, there is a type of HRM built into a girth and he suggested that was a bad idea, as it has a high probability for causing rubs. I also asked why you couldn't use one of human strips (which don't work by attaching two separate electrodes) and he gave very good answers.

If you have any questions, I suggest you contact him -- he was VERY helpful.

In the end I selected the VMax Basic, because I think it's all I really need for now -- all that other stuff is just extra and makes things more complicated. For instance, the nightlight on the watch -- until you start doing much longer riders, you won't be riding in the dark much.

As for the targeted HR -- you really should read some of the better books out there on conditioning. Most of those questions are answered. AERC website also has some great articles.

Good luck!

Jess!
Nov. 27, 2007, 09:40 AM
I'm very new to the sport as well and I've been searching for HRM as well.

This is what I've learned:

Basically, there are only two brands. The VMax and the Polar.

The VMax was the first on the market and it was designed and made by an actual endurance rider. The Polar was not.

I wrote to Robert (I think that was his name...) the VMax guy and he was very prompt and helpful in his reply. Very knowledgable.

For instance, there is a type of HRM built into a girth and he suggested that was a bad idea, as it has a high probability for causing rubs. I also asked why you couldn't use one of human strips (which don't work by attaching two separate electrodes) and he gave very good answers.

If you have any questions, I suggest you contact him -- he was VERY helpful.

In the end I selected the VMax Basic, because I think it's all I really need for now -- all that other stuff is just extra and makes things more complicated. For instance, the nightlight on the watch -- until you start doing much longer riders, you won't be riding in the dark much.

As for the targeted HR -- you really should read some of the better books out there on conditioning. Most of those questions are answered. AERC website also has some great articles.

Good luck!

THank you! I do have one book on conditioning, but it's very thin and doesn't go into much. I'm going to have to pick up a few others. I've been doing endurance for a few years, but I've just be winging it. I've had great horses, so it's been easy. However now that I have a half arab instead of full, I think I'm going to have to get down to the nitty gritty and do things from the book. :)

I'm going to go check out the Vmax!

marta
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:28 AM
can you elaborate on the answers he gave regarding use of human strips on horses?
i use a human hr monitor on my mare. just started last summer. i found that i sometimes got a double reading (another words 198 instead of 94). i wonder whether it's something he explained?

i am thinking of buying a 'real' horse hr monitor for next season and using this one myself;0

Kyzteke
Nov. 27, 2007, 03:55 PM
can you elaborate on the answers he gave regarding use of human strips on horses?
i use a human hr monitor on my mare. just started last summer. i found that i sometimes got a double reading (another words 198 instead of 94). i wonder whether it's something he explained?

i am thinking of buying a 'real' horse hr monitor for next season and using this one myself;0

Well, I hesitate to post his full reply on a public BB, but if the following doesn't answer the question, I can PM you.

I'm a nurse, so I'm kind of filling in the blanks on this one.

A HRM (human or equine) works by using electrodes (2) placed in spots that can tranmit to each other "through" the heart. If you've ever had an EKG you've noticed there are three "leads" -- two + a "ground." That's how they get all those cool patterns that the rich heart doctor can read.

Well, because the human chest is very small compared to a horse, the placing of the two "main" electrodes is only about 8" apart. But (obviously) a horse's conformation and heart placement is much different. The heart is deeper into the chest and you don't have the "flat" accessibility that you do with a human.

So if you look at the way a Horse HRM is placed, one electrode goes next to the heart (on the left side of the horse, behind the elbow), but the other is up high -- almost under the saddle pad. Check out VMax's site -- they have photos (since I don't have a HRM yet I'll have to take his word for it...). You need to place the electrodes this far apart for them to work properly, ie, give you an accurate reading.

That's why the human HRM isn't working right for you. You may be getting ALOT of wrong numbers. The only way to know for sure is to have someone on the ground double-checking the rate with a stethoscope while you watch the monitor.

I learned about how "deep" a horse's heart is when a friend of mine asked me to volunteer at a ride he was managing, doing P&Rs. He figured, since I was a nurse it would be a piece of cake!

So I show up with my cheezy $15 stethoscope and can't hear heartbeat #1!! Luckily, I knew the vet at the ride and I ran to her -- thought maybe I was deaf or sorely lacking in knowledge of equine anatomy ("the horse's heart IS on the left side, right?"). Well, she took one look at my cheapie stethoscope and said, "of COURSE you can't hear it with that piece of crap...."

She loaned me one of her extra Littmans (brand name) and all of a sudden my hearing was restored!!

And the whole reason was because a horse's heart is so deep (compared to ours) that you need a 'better' stethoscope to hear it than you would a human heart.

So for those who want to test HR the old fashion way, spend at least $40 -50 on the stethoscope.

Anyway, he also said the HRM can also cause girth sores because people stuff it under the girth and it can rub.

Really, the guy at VMax is a wealth of information. AND he answered my email very promptly, considering it was the day after Thanksgiving. That, and the fact he is an endurance rider himself, made me choose his HRM over the others. Can't wait till it gets here!

Hope that helped....

Bensmom
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:56 PM
This is very interesting info -- I use a human heart rate monitor vetrapped to the girth. I haven't ever had a rub with it and it is a sensitive skinned horse that I use it on.

Not only do I get readings that are consistent with what the pulse takers get at a ride, but also the handheld model is the exact same strip on a plastic handle, so I figured if that was sold as a horse handheld, the method I use wouldn't be too far off.

The only time I've gotten really weird readings have been when the horse is Really Fuzzy. Even if I wet buzzy's side down, I don't get accurate readings until he is soaked with sweat and it has good contact.

I'd love to see the actual explanation and see the difference in how the HRMs work. I would like to get a horse specific one that would download the info to my computer, but I haven't been willing to spend the $ yet.

Hmmmm. . .

libby

marta
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:41 PM
i got the human hr on your recommendation. i also never had a problem with rubs and i attach it just as you do.
but i've had it give me bizzarro readings at times and also had it hang up (continued to show a reading with no fluctuation at all until i finally reset the watch part).
i heard a friend tell me that when she was helping out at a ride once she was using the hand held and that they got double reading for some reason. that's what i seem to get once in a while - a double reading. i initially thought my mare was going to drop dead at a walk until i realized what was happening. it doesn't happen all the time but it happened enough for me to be somewhat mistrustful. i find it occurs (on the few occasions when it happened) when the heart rate raises very high.

anyway, it works well otherwise. i used it with a fuzzy girth maybe that's why i'm not getting girth rubs. and now that i'll have a new saddle with lots of real d-rings i may be able to get the watch attached in a more appropriate position (maybe the reading issues are caused by the watch being removed too far from the sending unit?)

Jess!
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:42 PM
That information was very, very nice! I'm going to look into the Vmax. I figure I might as well spend the extra money to get a horse one, instead of buying a human one and have it not work correctly. :)

prudence
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:48 PM
I use a Polar HRM and like it, particularly the one with the belt.

If you go to the link that Jess! posted and look under "Book and Videos," you can find a neat little book called, Heart of the Matter, written by Steve Elliott. Definitely a worthwhile purchase at $6.50!

PS Kandee is a doll!

Bensmom
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:48 PM
I also use it with a fuzzy girth on my thin skinned TB, and agree that is a large part of preventing rubs, but I've used it with a padded leather girth and also not had problems.

On the thin skinned TB, I've almost never had a false reading, tho I get them now on the chubby furry TB.

I've tested it in comparison to the Polar horse one, which is what my friend has (I've trained her horse with mine and compared it to the readings on hers) and it is virtually the same, so I wasn't concerned.

For the most part, it works well, but I am lusting after the one that is $400 and dowloads to the 'puter. <sigh>

libby

Jess!
Nov. 27, 2007, 06:01 PM
I use a Polar HRM and like it, particularly the one with the belt.

If you go to the link that Jess! posted and look under "Book and Videos," you can find a neat little book called, Heart of the Matter, written by Steve Elliott. Definitely a worthwhile purchase at $6.50!

PS Kandee is a doll!

Thanks, I didn't even notice the book section!!

And thank you!! :D I have a feeling she's going to be pretty competitive. I've never actually competed a half Arabian, though, which is why I want to do thing correctly this time around.

Jess!
Nov. 27, 2007, 06:03 PM
I also use it with a fuzzy girth on my thin skinned TB, and agree that is a large part of preventing rubs, but I've used it with a padded leather girth and also not had problems.

On the thin skinned TB, I've almost never had a false reading, tho I get them now on the chubby furry TB.

I've tested it in comparison to the Polar horse one, which is what my friend has (I've trained her horse with mine and compared it to the readings on hers) and it is virtually the same, so I wasn't concerned.

For the most part, it works well, but I am lusting after the one that is $400 and dowloads to the 'puter. <sigh>

libby


I'd love to have the $400 one, as well. :( I'd love to be able to track it on the computer. Even though I suppose you could do it with Excel, but that can be a pain in the butt sometimes.

Kyzteke
Nov. 28, 2007, 10:59 AM
I would like to get a horse specific one that would download the info to my computer, but I haven't been willing to spend the $ yet.
Hmmmm. . .
libby

Curious as to why all that info loaded into the computer would be useful. I mean, I'm sure you would be doing it to track the horse's progress, but wouldn't keeping a training log (with a pen & paper) work just as well?

And I can send you the email the VMax guy send me if you'd like.

Again, I'm sure they don't ALL rub...I think he said "they have a tendency to rub," or something like that.

Just like some people on this board swear by treeless and others say it's made their horse sore...

And I just talked to one of my "mentors" who was a Pan Am winner and consistently does well in 100's and she doesn't even use a HRM. Never has. Says they are a pain in the butt with the wires coming off, etc. And obviously, "back in the day," there wasn't such a thing, so nobody used them.

For me, being new to the sport and with a tendency to get overly competitive, I think using a HRM for the first few years will give me a better idea of where my horse is at, fitness-wise... actual visual proof of where she is so that I don't get silly and overdo it.

And all that getting on & off with a stethoscope is a drag -- plus I hear that just in the time it takes you to get down and place the stethoscope & get the reading, the HR can change.

Lastly -- I'm not sure the hand-held works with electrodes the way the human strips or the Horse HRM do. It may be just picking up the beats. I'm not an engineer. But I know they have these little cuff things you can use for getting a human HR, and all oxycimeters (a device you place on the end of a person's finger to get a reading on the level of oxygen in their blood) also give HRs. But they don't work off of electrodes. It works off of a beam of light "counting" the red blood cells -- I think. Anyway, I know it's a different design.

But I'm getting WAAYY out of my depth here -- I just use the stuff, I don't design it!

BTW, VMax also offers a "strip" model that works with any of his watches (monitors). He says specifically it is NOT for use under a saddle and I asked him why (that's when he went into the rubbing and repositioning explanations). But it's only $40, so I'm sure someone could try it...it might work fine.

For me, I put the Basic HRM on my Christmas list and a generous brother is going to get it for me....

Bensmom
Nov. 28, 2007, 11:36 AM
Oh, I want the computer one because I'm a GEEK! :lol: And, the more fancy model keeps up with other stuff, so that the chart you can print out lets you know when you have spikes etc.

We train with them regularly, and one of the things I like best about it is that if the horse is in pain, or uncomfortable, for the most part, the HRM will tell you that, as they'll stay a little higher than their normal consistently.

I say for the most part, because the HRM didn't help me find my horse's suspensory discomfort, so it isn't perfect, for sure.

The handheld is the exact same as the human stip one -- in fact, it is identical -- you can take the handheld strip off the handle and swap it for the human strip. It has electrodes buried in the wavy areas, but I don't claim to know anything at all about how this stuff all works! :)

I use the people one because it has worked for me and it was $10 at Sears on clearance, making me feel less guilty about lusting after the $400 horse one :D

I just LOOOOVE charts and stuff and yes, I keep handmade ones in a log, but the computer ones are just way geekier and cooler! ;)

Jess!
Nov. 28, 2007, 11:59 AM
I'm a little confused right now going through the Vmax site.

Okay, so I need to buy a wrist reader:

http://www.vmaxept.com/ENDURO_C.htm

But that doesn't come with the things that go under the saddle, does it? So I'll need to buy....what?

http://www.vmaxept.com/INSTALL.html One of those? Or does that come with the Enduro C? :confused::confused:

Kyzteke
Nov. 28, 2007, 02:25 PM
I'm a little confused right now going through the Vmax site.

Okay, so I need to buy a wrist reader:

http://www.vmaxept.com/ENDURO_C.htm

But that doesn't come with the things that go under the saddle, does it? So I'll need to buy....what?

http://www.vmaxept.com/INSTALL.html One of those? Or does that come with the Enduro C? :confused::confused:


Jess! Slow down and read carefully, because it IS a pretty messy website.

Go to Index of Models.

Basically he only sells two type of "ride & use" HRM -- a Basic and Another One -- (Deluxe?). Both come with a monitor (watch thingy) and the electrode strip thingy. The Other One (Deluxe) comes with other options, like a light on the monitor and such.

VMax doesn't sell one with the computer print-out, I don't think.

Anyway because I am the ANTI-GEEK, I chose the Basic because it's...well, basic <g>. You put the electrode thingy on the horse, put the montior on your wrist and turn it out. Period.

Then he has the hand-held monitor, and a strip type electrode one to use when you are not riding. Not sure why someone would want this...

I had the bright idea to use one on my riding horse, then the other one on the horse I was ponying, with maybe a monitor on each wrist. But he said they probably wouldn't work, because the monitor needs to be within 3-5 feet of the electrodes.

Now, I understand Polar makes one that has a longer distance of use...maybe it's the $400 deal?

I know I'm a LONG way from spending that kind of $$$ on a HRM....FIRST comes a really good saddle...

Jess!
Nov. 28, 2007, 03:45 PM
Jess! Slow down and read carefully, because it IS a pretty messy website.

Go to Index of Models.

Basically he only sells two type of "ride & use" HRM -- a Basic and Another One -- (Deluxe?). Both come with a monitor (watch thingy) and the electrode strip thingy. The Other One (Deluxe) comes with other options, like a light on the monitor and such.

VMax doesn't sell one with the computer print-out, I don't think.

Anyway because I am the ANTI-GEEK, I chose the Basic because it's...well, basic <g>. You put the electrode thingy on the horse, put the montior on your wrist and turn it out. Period.

Then he has the hand-held monitor, and a strip type electrode one to use when you are not riding. Not sure why someone would want this...

I had the bright idea to use one on my riding horse, then the other one on the horse I was ponying, with maybe a monitor on each wrist. But he said they probably wouldn't work, because the monitor needs to be within 3-5 feet of the electrodes.

Now, I understand Polar makes one that has a longer distance of use...maybe it's the $400 deal?

I know I'm a LONG way from spending that kind of $$$ on a HRM....FIRST comes a really good saddle...


Thank you. :winkgrin: I sat there and read the thing over and over, and was still thoroughly confused. Made me feel stupid because I couldn't figure it out. I suppose I could have e-mailed.

I think I'm going to get the Enduro C, as I do ride at night sometimes and I want the Hi/Lo alarm.

Kyzteke
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:37 AM
Jess -- I was just reading a book on endurance riding called "Going the Distance" by Nancy Loving DVM.

I'd bought it some time ago and just picked it up again.

It has a BIG section on HRMs and their use, both in riding and training. LOTS of info. I strongly suggest you grab a copy. I'm sure Amazon has it, maybe even used...

Good luck!

Jess!
Nov. 30, 2007, 02:01 PM
Jess -- I was just reading a book on endurance riding called "Going the Distance" by Nancy Loving DVM.

I'd bought it some time ago and just picked it up again.

It has a BIG section on HRMs and their use, both in riding and training. LOTS of info. I strongly suggest you grab a copy. I'm sure Amazon has it, maybe even used...

Good luck!


Thank you again :) I just went and bought it as long as a few other endurance books.

questisthebest
Dec. 1, 2007, 03:08 AM
I'm getting a gps for christmas, HRM is next on my list! Good info, I always got confused on exactly where you could get them and what to get.

questisthebest
Dec. 1, 2007, 03:32 PM
Really:o I'll definetely have to check that out! Especially since the gps I was getting cost a little bit more than that. Do you have to purchase anything special for the use of the heart rate monitor? What kind of features does it have?

questisthebest
Dec. 2, 2007, 05:09 PM
I checked out all the info, it sounds pretty cool, I also liked the looks of the 305, but I really like the features in the gps I'm getting, so for now I think I will just stick to it!

Diamond Jake
Dec. 4, 2007, 11:05 AM
I do distance riding with my Morab.

I finally got a HRM this fall, after borrowing one from a friend this spring. It might not be such a bad idea to borrow one, if available, and see how you like it.

My friend got a V-MAx, I got a Polar. I have no issues with my Polar- she has trouble regularly with her V-Max. Of course, EVERYTHING varies when it comes to horses!

Slypner Gear sells the Polars- the whole kits. They make it very easy to buy.

I talked to a bunch of distance riding buddies before I decided to get a HRM. Some preferred NOT to have one, for they wanted to rely on what their horse told them, and not a HRM. What it did for me was show me that I was not working my horse HARD ENOUGH- his rates were great, and showed me I could push him harder than I was. Our conditioning was much more successful after that. I did not use it all the time- a lot in the spring for legging back up after winter. And at times to check him out, and usually durng the actual rides.

AS for buying one- I kept an eye out on Endurance.net, and finally found a used one and saved $50. It was worth the wait!

Edited to add: I bought the Garmin 201 as well-used, great shape. I do wear it on my wrist. My HRM watch is attached to the swell of the pommel of my Tucker! Like a little dashboard!