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[RC] Heart Rate Variability - k s swigart

Dyane Smith said:

I think there is no question that age and bone
substance density issues are important, but
there is a method (heart rate variability) for
determining in advance whether a horse might
break down.  This method works for horses
of all ages and riding disciplines.

The only thing I have read or heard about the use of heart rate
variability for determining in advance whether a horse might break down
was the recent article I read in this month's Equus.  While the article
suggests that some time in the future measuring heart rate variability
may be useful "to detect fatigue in show and pleasure horses before
problems develop" (to quote the article) the only study that has been
done so far has been on a limited number (16) of race horses in training
of which only 4 did not have some kind of problem within the next three
months (that's only 25%) and of those 4, the study predicted that one of
them WOULD have problems, but it didn't.

With such a small sample and such a small number of horses not having
some kind of problem, I am not sure that being right on three out of
four of them is statistically significant, and the results of the full
study have not yet been published.

Certainly, this report suggests that heart rate variability may have
some predictive value with respect to determing which horses may have
some kind of problem in the near future, and I think it is probably a
good idea to pursue the research further, but it is a long way from
"This method works for horses of all ages and riding disciplines."

One would think that if there were further research that had been done
with respect to heart rate variability's predictive ability, that it
would also be reported in this article (since it IS recent, May 2008);
however, does anybody know of additional research that was done on more
than16 race horses in training?

Orange County, Calif.

p.s. Dyane Smith also said:

It could save horse owners thousands of dollars,
but we aren't really addressing prevention at all.

Since race tracks have recently spent millions of dollars installing
synthetic track surfaces solely for the purpose of preventing injuries
and break downs in horse races, I cannot agree that "we aren't really
addressing prevention at all."


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