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Equine Heart Rate Monitors

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  • Equine Heart Rate Monitors

    OK, Endurance and CTR people, I need some opinions and referrals for a good equine heart monitor. I am thinking of starting a conditioning program with my horse with the goal of finishing a few 25-30 miles rides this fall and winter. A modest goal to be sure...but I want to set up to do things correctly and safely, not just guess, or have to stop and put a stethoscope to him. Plus I need to find out how well Jake pulses down, he's a foxtrotter and if he has no metabolic aptitude to go the distance I don't want to torture him. We can always stick with our obstacle challenges.

    It is between a V-Max with Enduro receiver and a Polar RS300wGPS. I know the GPS function is not part of the V-max so they are not comparable in that respect. I have a GPS if I decide to go with the V-max but it might be nice to have it all displayed together. I like the fabric electrodes of the Polar...but the replaceable electrodes of the V-max might be better? How intuitive are the receivers for those that use them?

    So, other comments or pros and cons of V-Max vs Polar...anyone?

  • #2
    If this is July, and you are looking to START conditioning now, to do a 25 to 30 this fall? A little aggressive, IMHO, but I do not know your horse as well as you do..

    I have a very simple Polar. While trotting along on the trail, sometimes fairly quickly, I do not want to have to worry about a lot of buttons and display options. So the very simple Polar woks for me.

    I would recommend getting something a little more extravagant if you think you will be doing this for a few years, for then you can save yourself the trouble of either upgrading or wearing a lot of electronic hardware on your wrist like I do! (I also have a used Garmin Forerunner 201)

    Both brands have had great reviews. It will all just boil down to what you really want. You may just want to start with a simple HRM.... and as you experience the rides you will know better what you would need.

    Have fun! I would also recommend the book Go The Distance.. which has GREAT info on heart rates and conditioning.

    Comment


    • #3
      I also use the Polar, I have the band that goes around the belly. You can detach the transmitter to wash it or replace it when needed. Super easy to use, one push of the button, i also don't want to have to be looking and playing with buttons.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dear jlrcoats -

        Do you know where to get a replacement for the band that goes around the belly? We have lost THREE.

        Thanks.

        Comment


        • #5
          Prudence,

          What have you lost? The band or the transmitter? Teddy with Running Bear Tack helps me out. You can pull her up on the web or pm me for the number.
          I also had trouble with the velcro loops that are supposed to hold it to the girth, mine always worked it way out of the loop and became a bucking strap. I took some wide elastic and put snaps on them and solved the problem. Works great.
          Last edited by jlrcoats; Jul. 15, 2010, 03:08 PM. Reason: Adding

          Comment


          • #6
            I use the V-Max. Whatever the more expensive version is - can't remember exactly what it's called. I love it. Never have had much problem with it and it seems to always be reliable. Only problem is keeping the electrodes wet during winter riding.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
              I use the V-Max. Only problem is keeping the electrodes wet during winter riding.
              LOL, I probably won't have that problem. Maybe in Central FL but not down South.

              Thanks everybody for the input. Sounds like either one would be okay for what I need.

              Comment


              • #8
                For winter riding and using an hrm spit (alot) on the electrodes, or USE ekg gel.

                No brainer.

                Remember an hrm is not a speedometer. It should be for reference only. Know your horse.

                I would suggest to get the most basic hrm. It can be a huge hassle to have a gps, hrm, and all the other bells and whistles. Been there one that with my first hrm (back in 1990) I now have the one with a readout only, and a backlight if you push a button. I have a NICE gps and use it if need be on the horse, but it is not tied in with the hrm, I could, but I am not going to. Garmin is the best gps. Either brand is ok on the hrm, I prefer polar. It is much more convienent to turn on the hrm, touch the pouch and in a few seconds a read out like poof! If you do the gps, you have to wait and mess with that. Keep things simple - especially when it comes to your horse and what is hr is. I found when I had a watch with multiple things on it, some broke or didn't work over a period of time.

                All you really need is a read out of the horses heart rate. That is what is most important. Use the hrm as a reference only, not as a speedometer. The legs, bone, ligament may not be as conditioned as the brain, heart lungs.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                  For winter riding and using an hrm spit (alot) on the electrodes, or USE ekg gel.

                  No brainer.

                  Remember an hrm is not a speedometer. It should be for reference only. Know your horse.

                  I would suggest to get the most basic hrm. It can be a huge hassle to have a gps, hrm, and all the other bells and whistles. Keep things simple - especially when it comes to your horse and what is hr is. I found when I had a watch with multiple things on it, some broke or didn't work over a period of time.

                  All you really need is a read out of the horses heart rate. That is what is most important. Use the hrm as a reference only, not as a speedometer. The legs, bone, ligament may not be as conditioned as the brain, heart lungs.
                  Thanks rmh. I was thinking that the learning curve would be way harder with a GPS component to the HRM. I decided on the V-max, mainly because I can get "parts" and change batteries myself. Got one step up from basic (watch has a light and dual display).

                  I hear what you're saying reference the training. We are not starting from ground zero but I am going to pretend that we are. I am really interested to see what his HR is doing as we work in the heat and on different days in different places. We won't be doing anything that we don't already do 4-5 days a week (at least not for a couple of weeks) but now I will be able to see how he is handling it on the inside. Should be really interesting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm a big fan of the Garmin Forerunner but it looks as if you've already made your purchase... I bought the 305 last fall for $150 and it's been well worth it. Needed to convert the human heart rate monitor part to work on a horse but once that's done you're all set. One electrode goes on the belly and is held in place by the girth, the other underneath the saddle pad where the stirrup bar is.

                    Once you familiarize yourself with all the settings, the Forerunner is very easy to use and I love how you can plug it into your computer after every ride and have an instant record of all you've done, incl. a map, distance (can be slightly off if you do a lot of switchbacks), average speed, average heart rate, elevation, etc.

                    I use three different screens when I ride. One has just a single field: the heart rate, which comes in handy at the vet checks. Another one has four fields: speed, time traveled, heart rate, miles traveled. And another one has two fields: time of day and pace. The variations are endless and you can toggle back and forth between screens easily.

                    Having a GPS can come in really handy when you feel lost but luckily we haven't had to use it yet, other than for record keeping. But you can set your starting point and then have the Forerunner lead you back to it. It's actually very cool.

                    In any case, don't get "scared" of technology! It's great to have all these tools in one, and just having an electronic training record is well worth it. I even put it on for cross-training (dressage) in the arena now. Before you realize it you have done three miles in the sand, good to know...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      2Jakes, you will like the less hassle hrm of the v-max. I used it on my young horse this weekend and was surprised at her heart rates compared to my arabian. Interesting! Yes, easy to change batteries on both pieces. Worked fast, just touch the watch to the pouch, and there is the heart rate. My filly has a resting hr of 34. Working, 90 bpm. I could tell she was getting a bit tired, may have been the heat. Her hr didn't come down as quick as my arabs. Nerves? Heat? Just her? Will do more of my rat testing and see.

                      I do like to use the hrm on an endurance ride. Just so in case the heart rate starts to get whacky, you will know. Learn your horses normal heart rates.

                      I also have the newer red garmin forerunner. I sold my old forerunner, I think it is the 201, it was rechargeable, not with the batteries. Had that one for like 8 years?? I like the buttons better on the old one, as opposed to the new red one.

                      I am NOT scared of technology. I have been there done that, and less hassle is nicer. Especially if you are starting out. I have found, the one that has all the bells and whistles, usually one part will quit working, so then what? Buy new. Can get pricey.

                      Reason why I went with a new one is the red garmin forerunner picks up much better under heavy tree coverage, syncs up faster when turning it on, not velcro so it won't come off as easy, big numbers to see at a glance, yeah the gps is there. I have downloaded trail work I have done, nice info. Neat, yeah.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 2Jakes View Post
                        OK, Endurance and CTR people, I need some opinions and referrals for a good equine heart monitor. I am thinking of starting a conditioning program with my horse with the goal of finishing a few 25-30 miles rides this fall and winter. A modest goal to be sure...but I want to set up to do things correctly and safely, not just guess, or have to stop and put a stethoscope to him. Plus I need to find out how well Jake pulses down, he's a foxtrotter and if he has no metabolic aptitude to go the distance I don't want to torture him. We can always stick with our obstacle challenges.

                        It is between a V-Max with Enduro receiver and a Polar RS300wGPS. I know the GPS function is not part of the V-max so they are not comparable in that respect. I have a GPS if I decide to go with the V-max but it might be nice to have it all displayed together. I like the fabric electrodes of the Polar...but the replaceable electrodes of the V-max might be better? How intuitive are the receivers for those that use them?

                        So, other comments or pros and cons of V-Max vs Polar...anyone?
                        "They" don't realize that we can't ride in the summer at all...so starting in July is really admirable Lisa.

                        Heck I want to do some rides too and I haven't even found the horse yet!!

                        We are going to run into each other this winter I'm sure.
                        "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"

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