Even allowing for the fact that it’s a big animal, the horse has a huge heart, weighing in at around 5kg in a 500kg horse!
A large part of a horse’s athleticism is linked to this large heart!
- A horse’s heart rate can be as low as 15bpm when quiet and undisturbed during the night!
- Horses often “drop” or “miss” beats at rest when very calm. This is perfectly normal and known as second degree AV block!
- The horse’s heart rate can reach 250bpm during maximal exercise, beating over 4 times a second!
- A horse’s heart can pump enough blood in 1 minute of intense exercise to fill a standard bath!
- The horse’s heart rate increases the harder it works, plateauing at around 190-250bpm, depending on age and breed and fitness and individual genetics!
- Below 160bpm the horse’s heart rate can be heavily influenced by its environment e.g. it can be elevated due to excitement!
- Horses may commonly show arrhythmias (abnormal or irregular rhythm) when slowing down from exercise, but in the majority of cases these are not associated with heart disease!
Want to learn more? Want to know how to use heart rate to assess behavioural responses or to aid your training? Watch this webinar about Heart rates, fitness and training. CLICK HERE TO WATCH