Know Your Horses
Like humans, all horses are born with differing physical abilities. As any good horseman would know, some horses are born athletes and respond well to training. These horses typically have a lower heart rate in relation to the speed they are travelling. These are the horses that have the potential to win races. Using E-Trakka®, winning horses can be detected earlier.
E-Trakka® makes it possible to assist trainers in identifying horses with inherited ability (orange), that respond well to training and ultimately will perform well. The trainer is then able to manage the controllable elements (blue) to prepare the horse for racing. By monitoring heart rate, the trainer also takes into consideration the different environmental conditions (green).
At the end of the day, trainers are best placed to make decisions on managing the fitness of their horses. E-Trakka® will never replace this, but it can be used as a tool to help trainers make more informed decisions.
What is Fitness
In general terms, fitness describes a positive state of health, including low heart rate, muscle strength and high aerobic capacity. For the purposes of racing, high aerobic capacity and low heart rate are the most useful indicators of fitness.
A horse’s heart rate is the speed at which blood is pumped around the horse’s body. It is calculated by measuring the number of times the horse’s heart beats in one minute. By monitoring changes in heart rate across a workout we can learn about a horse’s level of fitness. A fit horse will show a gradual increase in heart rate as the work load increases and has a comparatively lower heart rate than an unfit horse. The speed at which a horse reaches it’s maximum heart rate (VHRMax) is of particular importance to the trainer, as this is a proven indicator of a horse’s fitness and readiness for racing. The higher the speed at which the maximum heart rate is reached, the fitter and potentially faster the horse. A quick return to resting heart rate after exercise (recovery) is also an excellent indicator of fitness.
Heart Rate is the sum total of the horse’s genetics, the environment and training. For example, a horse with a large heart may also have an inefficient gait. Whereas an elite classic galloper scores highly on all the factors affecting performance and heart rate.