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Re: heart rates & recovery

In a message dated 12/22/98 2:58:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< Of course horses are pulled on the heart rate alone because that's the
 AERC rule, but horses are rarely passed on heart rate alone, no?  Or do
 they have to be passed if they aren't lame and the HR meets criteria? >>

As a ride vet, I can pull the horse for ANYTHING that I think may hinder him
from going on safely.  Usually I don't do it that abruptly--if there is
something subtle that disturbs me, I am more apt to hold him for additional
time to see whether he improves or not.  Sometimes they do, and I send them
on--sometimes they don't, and I am damn glad they are still in camp or at a
vet check, and not crashing out on the trail somewhere.  Once in awhile we
decide wrong, but much less often now after years of experience and with the
wealth of knowledge that we are beginning to accumulate about aerobic
athletes.  The subtle ones can be tough calls, and I usually discuss them
extensively with their riders and crews, and try to make it a "team" decision.
Most riders opt not to continue if there is even something vaguely not quite
right, and have had many come back and thank me later for pointing out
something that bothered me...  I truly love the attitudes of most riders--in
vetting 250+ rides and something well over 10,000 entries, I have only had to
"pull" a handful of people--the rest have pulled themselves after problems
have been pointed out.  (Even if I have no intention whatsoever of letting the
horse go on, I ALWAYS give the rider the opportunity to make that decision
before stepping in and making it for him.  I find that many times riders will
pull even if I would have let them continue with a caution.  I always try to
commend them for making that decision, as they are the ones who know their
horses and may be able to read even more into a subtle difference than I can
in the course of a brief exam.)

Heidi Smith, DVM

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