Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability of Amateur Show Jumping Horses Competing on Different Levels
Department of Feed and Food Biotechnology, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Environmental Management, University of Debrecen, Böszörményi út 138, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary
Department of Hippology, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Szent István University Kaposvár Campus, Guba Sándor 40, 7400 Kaposvár, Hungary
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mandy Paterson, Jane M. Williams and Gillian Tabor
Received: 11 January 2021
Revised: 25 February 2021
Accepted: 1 March 2021
Published: 4 March 2021
The increase in the heart rate and various heart parameters play an important role in assessing the fitness of sport horses. The fitness of a horse, that particular horse’s competition routine, and the resulting lower stress affect various cardiac parameters. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the phases of competition (warm-up, resting period, show jumping course riding, cool-down) and the difficulty of a course (100, 120, 130 cm) on the heart rate and selected heart rate variability parameters of show jumping horses. The heart rate was monitored with a “Polar Equine heart rate monitor” before, during, and after a show jumping course was completed. Neither analysis of the average heart rate nor that of the maximum heart rate were able to detect a statistically proven difference among competition levels. In contrast, according to heart rate variability measures, such as maximum RR intervals, SD1, RMSSD, pNN50, and %VLF picked up differences in workload level. It has been confirmed that lower-class show jumping (up to 120 cm height) is not a strenuous exercise for horses.