KER Hosts Equine Fitness SeminarBy KER Staff · April 23, 2015
With an audience of nearly 200 event riders, veterinarians, students, and horse owners, Kentucky Equine Research (KER) president Dr. Joe Pagan provided greater understanding of equine fitness in a seminar held April 21 in Lexington, Ky.
KER spent months tracking the conditioning of dozens of eventers and racehorses to uncover new insights on equine fitness. Key findings included differences between response to training and competition in event horses, and the influence of terrain on improving cardiovascular fitness.
Study participants utilized KER ClockIt™ Sport, a smartphone app currently in development, in conjunction with Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitoring equipment. KER ClockIt is a modern way to measure equine fitness. By tracking the individual horse’s intensity and duration of exercise, owners and trainers can condition and feed each horse appropriately for the work they’re actually performing.
Over more than 25 years of research, KER has identified specific measurable parameters that gauge a horse’s relative level of fitness. Heart rate is a key indicator and is strongly correlated to other parameters, some of which are more difficult to measure in the real world. Therefore, heart rate is an ideal way to assess the fitness of a working horse in real time.
By tracking real conditioning programs used by riders preparing for competition, KER was able to identify effective conditioning programs for upper-level event horses and compare them to the typical work program of active racehorses.
“The KER ClockIt app has been great—and it’s so easy to use,” said study participant Lisa Barry, who utilized ClockIt in preparation for her first Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with F.I.S. Prince Charming. “I can see the graphs after his workouts to see if I’m really on track with his conditioning. I can easily tell if I need to do more hill work, more sprints, or increase in any capacity.”
KER ClockIt Sport will be available to the public later in 2015.