Girth Heart Monitor
What is a Girth Heart Monitor?
A girth heart monitor is a patented girth containing a heart rate monitoring device and is used in training to assess the fitness of a horse.
The heart rate monitoring device with electrodes is inserted into the girth in such a way that the horse or rider doesn't even know it is there. The device and electrodes are all in one unit.
The electrodes can stay in the girth and can easily be used from one horse to the next, therefore building up direct comparisons between one horse and the other.
The girth can be of any length to suit the horse. Girths can be made to order.
The heart rate monitoring device with electrodes can be taken out of the girth so that it can be washed or the batteries changed.
It's really discreet and there are no external wires. It is the only heart rate monitor or equine fitness tracker that can be used during a race and in any weather conditions.
Why Use a Girth Heart Monitor?
GET MORE PETROL IN THE TANK WITH A 'BIGGER' HEART
Heart rate monitors are used as a tool for improved training efficiency. The more efficient the heart the better the horse will cope when in competition with other horses.
It has been scientifically proven that a horse needs to train both aerobically and anaerobically to be able to compete at a high level. A horse will only be training anaerobically when its heart rate is over 170 and up to 240 beats per minute (BPM). The only way of assessing this is with a heart rate monitor.
When a horse has a BPM of more than 200 there is a lactic acid build up. This is when the horse is beginning to ‘seize up’. It is at this stage that the horse is more likely to fall and cause an injury to both itself and the jockey. The more anaerobic work the horse does the more capable the horse is of coping with lactic acid.
It has also been proven that the amount of heart muscle, and the width and area of the left heart chamber increase dramatically with training. Increased heart volume allows the heart to hold more blood at rest and during exercise, whilst increased muscle also allows the more powerful 'fit' heart to eject more blood with each beat. Therefore keeping the muscles supplied with oxygen and delaying the lactic acid build up.
The heart monitor will be able to tell the jockey when the horse has had enough and when to ease up, or conversely when the horse is simply not trying hard enough.
If the horse has not done enough anaerobic exercise it will not be able to cope with the lactic acid build up which will be inevitable in a race when the heart rate is over 200 BPM.
Exercise under a controlled environment with the use of a heart monitor will ensure that the horse is working within its target zones and that the horse is fit enough to cope with a race.
A good indication of fitness is the recovery time it takes for the heart to get back to normal after extreme exercise. With a heart monitor it will be possible to take the heart rate at different intervals after exercise and therefore access whether the recovery rate is good enough. If it is then the horse is ready. If it is not then further training is needed until the recovery time is good enough. This can only be done with a horse heart rate monitor.
It prevents over-training. Nowadays more trainers are interval training, and this increases the risk of injury if a horse is made to go too fast before it is ready. By taking the heart rate this risk can be minimised and will also allow direct comparisons to be made between horses.
The heart rate monitor can greatly assist in the assessment of the future potential of young stock
The girth heart monitor can also tell you when there is a problem. When a horse is unwell the BPM will be unusually high. If you know what the 'normal' is for your horse you will be able to spot the problem before making it worse by heavy training. A horse in pain will have an unusually high heart rate - often a horse that has a slight tendon injury that cannot be detected by touch will show that there is a problem in this way.
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that can often go unnoticed as it can be undetectable at rest. It is when the electrical activity of the collecting chambers become completely 'deranged' causing the normal regular beat to become totally out of sync. A typical example of atrial fibrillation is when a horse fades in the later stage of a race. This could be detected by using a heart monitor during training.
What Does the Watch Receiver Tell Me?
The watch receiver works most effectively when it is attached to the D ring of the saddle or the breast girth. It needs to be within 24 inches from the sensors. It will show the rider during and after exercise -
The beats per minute. This will show whether the horse is working within its target zone.
The length of time the exercise session lasted.
The highest, lowest, and average BPM during exercise.
The recovery rate of the horse after exercise.
Easy & Practical to Use
Horse training yards are invariably busy with many horses being trained. This is why it is imperative that the Girth Heart Monitor is practical and easy to use. It is used as a matter of course in the same way as a normal girth is used.