The Equine Science Society is a group of equine scientists specializing in nutrition, exercise physiology, reproductive physiology, genetics, bioscience, production and management and teaching and extension. Their conference was held at the end of May, and over the next few weeks I will post about some interesting research that was presented. The abstracts and invited papers are all published in the May edition of the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (volume 52).

Kentucky Equine Research has developed an “App” to use in combination with heart rate and GPS monitors in horses. THE KER ClockIt Smartphone application works with the Polar heart rate monitor (Polar H7) to measure and organize heart rate, speed, session duration and distances travelled in its application. The application can organize heart rate zones (six of them based on per cent of maximum heart rate) and gaits (based on speed).

A series of studies were conducted in three-day event horses and racehorses. Abstract 63 presents data regarding the amount of time horses at the training, preliminary, intermediate and advanced levels of eventing spent in different heart rate zones. These authors reported that horses competing in intermediate and advanced competitions spent more time in zone 6 (heart rate >90% of max) than training and preliminary levels.

Abstract 64 compared the intensity and duration of training between advanced three-day event horses and thoroughbred racehorses. It was reported that event horses trained over twice the distance of racehorses, but racehorses galloped more and with a higher intensity (with more time spent with heart rate about 80% of maximum).

Abstract 115 used heart rate data from event horses training at the novice, training, preliminary, intermediate and advanced levels to determine energy expenditure and digestible energy requirements.

While these findings report that digestible energy requirements for event horses are lower than suggested in the National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses for such a level of work, the best way to determine if a horse is meeting its nutritional requirement is to monitor its body weight and condition.

Nonetheless, the application is a very interesting tool, and one I personally will use. If you’ve ever used the heart rate monitors, you’ll find that the amount of data generated by Polar Flow is massive, and the application will consolidate and summarize exercise efforts. For the record, I have no vested interest in either KER or Polar!