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Re: Fun with Fitness!!

In a message dated 12/24/98 9:51:40 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< 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.  >>

No, kat, you are right that we cannot set criteria to fit individual horses.
However, I would like to comment on several of the things you suggested that
make your horse "different."  One, size.  I have seen MANY very tiny horses
with normal to low resting rates and exceptional recoveries, so I don't think
size is a valid reason to "excuse" your horse for high rates and slower
recoveries.  One tiny horse of exceptional merit in this regard is the
Westlakes' mare WS Karamia--almost always the first one to recover to 60 at
checks (often is down when she comes in) and almost always down to 40 or 44 at
10 minutes when she is judged for BC--and yes, she is almost always in the BC
judging, because she is almost always right up front.  She is really
TINY--about the size of your horse.  Two, excitability.  You have hit the nail
on the head here.  What your horse is doing, both to have the "normal" of 52
and the slower recoveries, is giving herself jolts of adrenaline.  She may,
indeed, be VERY fit, but the constant self-stimulation with adrenaline speeds
up her metabolism, fatigues her more quickly, uses her energy reserves more
quickly, and all in all, is NOT a good thing for an endurance horse to be
doing.  All the more reason to have the pulse set at 60 so that she gets a
longer hold at the checks to help her recover from this problem.  You
certainly can manage a horse like this with care, but one must understand WHY
horses do this, and realize that it IS a problem that must be overcome by
management, not a fault of how the ride criteria are set.  To me, a horse like
this is no different than riding a horse with a biomechanical handicap of some
sort--as long as one deals with the problem and MEETS the criteria, fine, but
understand that it IS a handicap and deal with it accordingly.

Heidi Smith, DVM

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