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    Re: [RC] Heartbelt vs. hand-held - Jim Holland

    I played around with this for quite a while.  I have difficulty hearing
    a horse's heartbeat thru a Stethoscope, especially if there is a lot of
    activity going on around us, plus all the washing, moving around, etc.,
    so I really needed a better way.  
    Really liked the "handle" electronic monitor, but didn't like the fact
    that it required a full time pair of hands to use it...basically an
    electronic stethoscope. Somebody had to quit crewing and check
    periodically to see if pulse criteria had been reached. Also, in some
    cases, had to use gel for it to give me a good reading, plus each time
    you checked, had to wait 8-10 seconds to get a pulse all over again. OK
    for vet check pulse takers, but wanted something better for crewing.
    Another problem is that if the horse is moving around a lot, it's
    difficult to get a good pulse reading with a handheld or a stethoscope.
    At the AERC Convention in 2000, spent some time talking with Steve
    Elliott about exactly what I wanted.  The heartbelts (at least the ones
    I've seen) have a little styrofoam "post" attached for you to strap a
    wristwatch style monitor on which will receive from the transmitter in
    the belt. Actually, the first belt I bought didn't have a
    transmitter...I made one using the belt and velcro, scavenging a
    handheld. Much better, but I wanted a watch integrated into the belt.
    After some discussion, Steve and I "built" what I wanted...bought a belt
    with a transmitter and a watch, tore off the "post" and attached the
    watch directly to the belt with velcro, making it smaller and more
    compact, with less chance of losing the watch. The belt is elastic and
    has velcro to adjust to the size of the horse's girth, and a quick
    relase twistlock. The watch has an alarm that will "beep" when the pulse
    critera you set is reached. 
    NOW I when I arrive at the vet check, one of us drops the tack, the
    other slaps on the belt, pushes the button, and we sling water.  Never
    look at it.  When I hear the beep, drop everything and head for the
    pulse taker. Takes 8 seconds to give me the first reading, then it's
    dynamic after that. Never use gel as long as the horse is wet....and he
    will be if you're washing, anyway.
    One other good thing about the belt. It tells you "how" the horse's
    pulse is behaving. I'm expecting a steady drop from the first reading to
    criteria, and by experience, I know how long that takes for
    Sunny...what's "normal" for him.  If he "hangs" somewhere for a minute
    or so, or is "bouncing", it's immediately obvious, and that's "warning
    bells" to ease up. 
    Joan loves the thing...and uses it to help lots of other crews when I'm
    out on a loop. My ride buddy Flinn has one....wouldn't be without
    it...and after Biltmore, betcha my other ride buddy Penny Sharpe has one
    by next year! :)
    You might check with Steve Elliott or Roger Rittenhouse if you're
    interested. Might make them like mine now.
    Couple of things:
    I ALWAYS pull tack....therfore hooking up the belt is easy. If you
    choose NOT to pull tack, it's more difficult to use the belt....and a
    handheld as well, of course.
    I sometimes use mine to hold my rump rug on when needed. Also, at some
    of the big rides in the SE, we may end up crewing some distance form P
    and R. If it's hot and humid (which is most of the time in the SE) the
    horse may gain a beat or two in the walk to P and R. If there's a line,
    it's a good idea to recheck before entering to avoid a "go-around".
    Heartbelt makes this easy. If you do this, out of courtesy to the pulse
    taker, you should flip the watch over so the pulse taker can't see it,
    or just take it off and hang it around your neck as you enter P and R.
    Jim, Sun of Dimanche, and Mahada Magic
    > "C. Eyler" wrote:
    > What are the pro's and con's of using a heartbelt versus a hand-held
    > wand HRM for monitoring while at vet checks?  Is it as simple as:  if
    > you have crew, get the wand, but if you're on your own, get the belt?
    > Or, are there other issues to consider?
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    [RC] Heartbelt vs. hand-held, C. Eyler