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Re: Fun with Fitness!!

On Thu, 24 Dec 1998, Teddy Lancaster wrote:

> Funny, they just don't get it.  They are riding their horse
> beyond the present fitness level.  Either to stressed out from
> too much overall work and not enough recovery, or simply not yet
> fit enough to do the job.
> 1. His pulse is 60 in 2 minutes at a vet check and goes down to
> 40 in 10 minutes......

I take serious exception to this.  I have a horse whose RESTING heart rate
is about 52.  Getting her to recover down to 60 is "challenging" and it
ain't 'cuz she ain't's 'cuz she's little (13.3 hh ~ 550 lbs at
the START of a ride)...and easily excitable.

She is, and has been, a very successful endurance horse (only 385 miles so
far as she is only starting), and is VERY fit.  More so, in fact, probably
than many horses that recover to 60 easily and continue to drop.

I do not begrudge the vets for setting the HR criteria at 60, ,since I
think many marginal horses benefit from the additional rest this requires
(and nothing bugs me more than to hear riders at pre-ride meetings arguing
with the head vet on his/her choice of criteria), but I still like it
better when it is set at 64.

I understand that she is a truely exceptional (as it, different from the
normal) endurance horse, and vets can't set criteria to suit my horse, her
size and disposition.  THe only time that she has been pulled from a ride,
she was "nott eating", and the fact that she wasn't feeling well was
exhibited in that she recovered much more quickly.  Her recoveries were
1-2 minutes instead of the 8-10 it usually takes her when she is feeling
good (aka excited and happy to go, go, go).  With this horse, fast
recoveries (especially early in the ride) are BIG red flag to me that she
is overly tired or not feeling well (the biggest, in fact, because even
when she is not feeling well, and/or is very tired, she will trot out with
great impulstion and animation).  The fast recoveries showed even before
the "decreased gut sounds" did.

My own observation is that how quickly a horse recovers to 60 ( or 64 ) is
little indication of how "fit" the horse is and generally tells me more
about any particular horse's underlying metabolism; however, I do not
think that the 60 recovery crieria are necessarily a bad tthing as it
requires riders to rest their least a little bit.  I do think
that it is "unfair" however, because it does require different riders to
rest their horses differing amounts of time, and these differing amounts
of time are not so much a function of how fit the horse is, but rather the
horse's underlying metabolism.

What we are, in essence, saying is that endurance horses must have the
underlying ability to recover to 60 in not to long a time or they won't be
very successful as endurance horses.  This MAY be why arabs dominate in
this sport, because most of them have that kind of underlying metabolism.

Orange County, Calif.

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