Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heart Rates and Trail Rides

Last weekend saw Jet on the trail for the first time in a month. A friend called on Saturday, excited because she'd just picked up a new horse trailer and she wanted to go for a ride. With Jet's galls healed up, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to get her back in gear. Darling rode Sandy, which was good because Jet did try to pull a few punches along the way. Thankfully, no rearing was involved and she did seem to enjoy herself.

Sandy was pokey, and he did sweat, but as usual he perked up when on the level, and coming down the hills Darling let him move out and trot to his heart's content. This was only the second time she'd been out on him, and the first time she'd done any trotting. She was amazed at how smooth he was and took advantage of every opportunity.

Earlier in the week I hauled Sandy up north a bit to a lovely little park which has trails that are level and easy to navigate. Since the vet clinic is on the way, I stopped to ask about heart rates. How high can a horse's heart go? Is 72 high? Or low? What about dropping back to resting rate?

I'd been concerned, as you may recall, that he wasn't recovering fast enough. Finding information online was difficult because he's doing a lot of climbing rather than speed work. The vet who was in the office put my mind to ease. Horses who are doing speed work can get their hearts going to 150-180! Endurance riders with very fit horses like to see their hearts back to 60 in four minutes.

Say what? 60? Not resting? No...not resting rate. And what's more, if you get down to 60 in ten minutes it's good for the average horse.

While up on the hills the other day I pushed him a bit more, making him walk out, and finally got him up to 80. He was back to 60 within 3 minutes the first time, but the second time he insisted something was out there and I could hear his heart elevating. Sure enough, a minute later a hiker came out of the trees with his two dogs. On the way home I found a nice stretch with a slight incline and asked for a brisk lope. When I climbed off the heart was going faster than I was prepared to count; this time it was down to 72 in one minute and in four back into the low 60s. So Sandy's ticker is good. I am now, however, obsessed with the whole heart rate thing!

The trail through the park was so lovely and made for a quick ride, so I brought Darling up the next day. She took the camera and I rode Jet so that you could be happy with a picture of us.

Jet did a lot of long trotting; she out trots Sandy's lope. Neither horse really broke much of a sweat, which was nice, and they were both at a resting rate (see, I am obsessed) when we got back to the trailer.


Anonymous said...

I just love this last photo. The colors are deep and rich. What beautiful country to ride in.

Katee said...

Sigh. You've got another friend with a trailer. Sigh. I wish I had a friend with a horse trailer. I gots to get me some new friends..friends that gots trailers! "hi, do you wanna be my friend?" "sure!" "do you have a trailer?" "no" "oh, nevermind then." heehee

Tracey said...

Lol, Katee...