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Heart rate as predictor in jumps racing horses--abstract

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  • Heart rate as predictor in jumps racing horses--abstract

    It's intriguing, and should have some carryover to eventing XC. They found what they expected to find: horses whose heartbeat recovered the fastest after a strenous exercise test finished higher in the race than less fit horses who were considered "fit to race".

    It comes from the abstracts to be presented at the International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology, most of which are relevant to sport horses. The whole list of abstracts is worth reading. Most of the abstracts that I have read so far come from studies on racers, however.

    Recovery heart rates as a predictor of race position in National Hunt Racehorses

    G. Wilson and C.M. McGowan,
    Liverpool John Moores University, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Science, Byrom Street, Liverpool, L3 3AF, United Kingdom, The University of Liverpool, Equine Clinical Science, Institute of Veterinary Science, Leahurst Campus, CH64, 7TE Neston, United Kingdom;

    Prediction of race fitness using the principles of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is a potentially valuable applied exercise physiology tool. We hypothesised that horses with a lower recovery heart rate after a standardised field test would perform better in their subsequent race. Twenty mature, experienced National Hunt horses (15 geldings, 5 mares; 6.5±1.1 years; 489±33.5 kg), underwent 34 pre-race standardised 3-interval field exercise tests using telemetric heart rate (HR) and global positioning satellite (GPS) monitoring on a 1,400 m track inclined 32 m. Horses were classified into three groups based on 1 min post-exercise HR after interval 3 (>140 bpm; unfit [U]; 120- 140 bpm; fit-to-race [FR]; <120 bpm; fully fit [F]). All horses were from the same yard, under the same management and in their final stage of training (race-ready). Horses were excluded if they were lame or clinically unwell. The outcome measure of finishing in the top third of the field was compared to classification using 2×2 tables (Statcalc, EpiInfo). Peak HR, speed and 1 min post-exercise HR were 213±5 bpm, 49.3±1.8 kph and 125±16 for interval 3 respectively. Horses classified as U (n=8) did not race. F and FR horses competed in 26 jump races (23 hurdles, 3 bumper; 3,200-5,000 m). Horses classified as F (n=16) were more likely to finish in the top third of the field than FR (n=10) (OR 12.0; 95%CI 1.8-81.7; P=0.01). We conclude that post exercise heart rate following standardised interval exercise is a predictor of race position in NH racehorses and a useful guide for trainers.

    There is an interesting abstract of Dutch study on eventing horses that suggests
    In eventing horses, just as in human athletes, spikes of acute workload increased the risk of injury whilst a higher chronic workload may protect against injuries.
    For anyone interested in the science of exercise and horses, the ICEEP Proceedings are golden. They have 10 years of proceedings with abstracts available on their website. I've only looked at all the abstracts for the 10th year, but many of them are fascinating.

    A few are specifically on event horses, including a couple on cardiac events in competition.
    Last edited by vineyridge; Nov. 3, 2018, 05:55 PM.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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  • #2
    Thanks for the link.

    Reading this abstract it makes sense. I work as a cardiac sonographer and spend several days per week performing stress echo's in humans. We take resting pictures, pictures at intermediates (65% of max heart rate), pictures at peak (85% of max), and pictures during recovery. The patient is continuously monitored through ECG, and blood pressures are taken every couple minutes.
    Everyone thinks that getting to target is the most important factor, but the recovery is just as important, it's a big predictor of cardiovascular disease in humans.
    Most people recover well, and then you'll have a patient that takes 10 minutes to come back down to a normal heart rate and blood pressure. That's something that the cardiologists definitely take note of.


    • #3
      Great finds, viney!