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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

February 7, 2011

Endurance Blurbs: Low Heart Rate Training

"No one that I know has proposed a specific low heart rate formula for horses and my training range below 130 beats per minute is based more on intuition than on science. I arrived at the number by observing how my body performs when I am in the proper range and seeking the same level of effort for the horse. The human formula is based on age and I imagine that the equine formula would also reflect age. Some guidelines might be:

-- Reasonably fit horses 7 to 14 years old: Conditioning range under 140 bpm
-- Reasonably fit horses 15 to 22 years old:Conditioning range under 130 bpm.

I would subtract 10 or more beats per minute for horses that are just starting their conditioning programs.
Many of the people who use heart rate monitors seem to be focused on heart rates above 150 beats per minute and some push to heart rates as high as 180 beats per minute. I have heard talks about endurance conditioning and the speakers have recommended that the horse run up a long hill at a sustained heart rate above 150 beats per minute. Low heart rate training would have you take your horse up the hill at whatever pace is necessary to maintain the heart rate under 140 or 130 beats per minute, even if that pace is a walk.
I too have tried the high heart rate training with myself and with my horse. Frank had some awesome runs, but he was plagued by low body weight and intermittent lameness during his high heart rate training days. Eventually, I had to give him some extended time off and gently ease him back into endurance. During the time off, I switched to low intensity training. Now my main problem is how to hold him back for five days and 260 miles. "

click here for full article by Tom Noll.

Last season I used this method prior to our first 2 day LD.  I had the best training response ever using low heart rate training vs. the heavy hill work and interval training I had been doing.  Thought it was worth a re-post since many are heading back out on the conditioning trail.  The full article is published on the AERC site as linked above.

Happy trails ~E.G.

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