How to analyze heart rate and recovery?

Measuring the heart rate of a racehorse provides information on his physical condition, fitness level and adaptation to training. The heart rate fluctuates linearly with the horse's speed.

Discover the 4 HR areas to analyse:  HR at rest, HR during warm up, HR during effort & HR during recovery. 

1. How to analyze heart rate?

  • Heart Rate (HR) is measured by the number of beats per minute of the horse’s heart. This unity of measure, which we call BPM, is tracked by Equimetre throughout the training.
  • You should analyze it according to speed and establish the quality of recuperation.
  • Resting HR and maximum HR are different according to the horses.

2. How to analyze recovery?

The analysis of recovery allows the trainer to judge the way the training was assimilated by the horse in order to plan the next session accordingly.

In order to analyze recovery, 4 zones in the replay of the HR evolution during the training can be useful. 

  1. HR when leaving the box: it’s useful to analyze the HR before the effort as it is the first one EQUIMETRE registers. Each horse has a specific one and it doesn’t give any indication on his fitness.
  2. HR during warm-up: HR should stabilize and then slow down a little bit once the horse is completely warmed up and ready to cope with a harder effort.
    • If you see that he has an abnormally high HR while he appears calm, it could mean he is in pain.
      • If so, medical expertise can be necessary in order to be 100% sure that nothing is wrong. 
  3. HR during training: a horse with good fitness will have a constantly rising HR during the work which will drop as soon as speed does.
    • When seeing that an HR ceils during an effort, it means that the effort required is too much for the horse and that he uses all of his respiratory capacity. While the HR ceils, the horse has oxygen debts and we see that HR remains high even after speed dropped in order to compensate for the lack of oxygen caused by the intense effort.
      Capture d’écran 2020-10-16 à 10-29-47-png
  4. Recovery 
    1. Immediately after the effort, the HR stabilizes to a first level, it is recuperation after effort.Capture d’écran 2020-10-16 à 10-50-27-png
    2. In a second time, it diminishes again and after 15mn, we can analyze the recovery after 15mn.
      Capture d’écran 2020-10-16 à 10-58-45-png
The lower they are, the better is the recuperation. An ideal recuperation is a return to initial HR after 15mn. When the horse has a hard time going back to a low HR, it means the work was intense for him, and this level of work isn’t completely assimilated yet. It can be interesting to give him a break on the following day in order to repeat the training before leveling up.

3. Some average data

Average training (Works over 55 km/h 215 BPM 118 BPM 100 BPM 80 BPM