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Re: heart rates & recovery

Hello Tom (and others),

nice to have some interesting discussion here again.

I have problems to recognize your recovery plateau 60-90 seconds after a workout,

When I do a workout on the trail what I call strenous (you may not agree that is
real stressfull from your race experience?), i.e. 7 minutes with HR 160-190, and
then slow down to walk, the HR drop very constantly - at first very quickly, then
I don't see any plateau, neither with Natja nor Ligeira. Even if I record the beat
every 5 seconds and make a graphic printout afterwards.

What really happened is, after a while, the HR sinks (geometricly) to a state
appropriate to the slower, now performed work. In case of a medium walk, the HR
will drop under 100 (Ligeira) or 90 (Nataja). If some pressure is continued on the
horse after this workout (i.e. fast walk, uphill walk) this will happened later
(if any).
Also if the horse is stressed to some point (maybe, the workout is the 3rd in a
series, or was performed after a 3 hour ride) the HR will stay elevated (10-15
beats). Normally I take this as a sign to make a break (walk or stop), and usually
the working-HR stay slightly elevated, or at least tends to, for the rest of the
ride. Then I will do the following workouts, if any, slower then the first.
If the same horse is good conditioned, this happens seldom (or later).
In a stronger, more stress tolerant horse, this happens seldom (or later).
This is only my observation. Maybe some of you will disagree. I will be curious
about any different views.

Because of hills, footing and some other factors its not possible on the trail to
make exact conclusions of performed work and HR, like you, Tom, are able to make
it on the track, or the treadmill.
I'm not able to make longer workouts in the range around 180, because of all the
streets, villages, gravel roads around here. My horses seem to me not in a fitness
state that allow HR ~200 for longer periods then 2-2,5 minutes. After some short
bursts of speed like this, the behaviour is the same as the above, or even better.
So I don't know at which level I have to train to see your recovery plateau
(probably at a very high one).

But it's my experience that short-time recovery and long-time-recovery (30 min.,
or what we have in Europe 20 min.) are different shoes. If short-time recovery is
bad, there is some evidence that you will have some work to do to reach pulse
criteria. That's some stress the horse will handle.
If one the other hand, short-time recovery is well, this does not mean that
long-time recovery is the same necassarily. Two years ago everything went well on
the ride, the numbers were quite normal, the horse feels normal, and then, at the
last vetcheck, the HR stood around 72, after 20 minutes, and for hours. Something
went wrong (probably glucose deficit or other metabolic problem). In facts of
numbers (HR) this was unforseeable. Though vetting out was right, because
continuing the ride in the same pace could have lead to serious problems in the
We often do not know why a HR is to high. But even if we recognize it, there is a
good reason to slow down. Also the CRI is a multifactor test. You don't excactly
why the second HR is 8 beats higher than the first. Mybe oncurring lameness, maybe
metabolic problems, maybe simple tiredness. All of them are good reasons to do
carefully. On the trail there is no way to find out exactly why, just out of
curiosity, or scientific interest.

Thanks for your interest.

Merry Christmas to all of you...

Frank Mechelhoff            (Germany) wrote:

> Byron,
> We've learned some thing about heartrate recoveries in racehorses in recent
> years. We no longer look at absolute recovery numbers, but the "recovery
> plateau" that occurs about 60-90 seconds after an anaerobic piece of work.
> This plateau will occur between 100 and 135 and is indicative of the degree of
> anaerobic work the horse just performed. A 135 suggests you're on the
> borderline of fatigue and should no do another interval while a 100 suggests
> you didn't get much anaerobic work accomplished at all.
> The problem with 5 and 10 minute recoveries, or recoveries taken below a
> certain threshold is the variations among horses (and humans) that have little
> to do with actual recovery and capability of going on.
> Yes, I am sure that an individual horse will improve his cardiovascular
> efficiency with exercise, and that his recoveries will be lower (or quicker)
> after a while. But I don't think that heartrate recoveries can be used as an
> accurate criteria as to whether or not a horse is capable of continuing an
> endurance ride.  Rather than use an inaccurate criterium, it's better to find
> another, more predictive one.
> ti

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