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What is a Normal Heart Rate for a Horse?

March 16, 2023 2 min read

The Equine Cardiovascular System

Hearts are an amazing thing in all animals. A constantly working muscle, the heart, pumps blood throughout the body to sustain life. The horse’s heart is a well-oiled machine—the heart’s efficiency results in a super athlete.

Horse hearts pump approximately 9 gallons of blood throughout the circulatory system in one minute. Altogether, a larger heart means more blood volume and greater athletic performance.

Understanding a Horse’s Heart Rate

What is a Normal Heart Rate for a Horse?

The horse’s heart has one of the widest ranges of rates from rest to top performance. Like humans, a horse’s heart rate will vary throughout the day. Additionally, the heart rate can range from a resting rate of 30 bpm to a maximum of 250 bpm. Moreover, a horse should return to a resting heart rate 15 minutes after exercise.

Newborn foals and young horses display different heart rates compared to adult horses. Newborn foals have the highest resting heart rate at 100 bpm. Yearlings have a heart rate that is lower, closer to 50 bpm.

Things That Impact a Horse’s Heart Rate

Genetic disorders and diseases can severely impact the heart health of your horse. Some disorders that you must be aware of are:

  • Murmurs
  • Arrhythmias
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart block
  • Myocarditis
  • Leaky Valve

Other situations that may impact a horse’s heart rate are excitement, fear, pain, heat, and exercise. Many of these situations are natural and healthy. However, a heart rate that does not appropriately match the stimuli is concerning.

How Do You Keep Your Horse’s Heart Healthy?

How to Help Your Horse Relax Naturally

Relaxing a horse is both a physical and a mental challenge. First, you must reflect a relaxing persona. Horses are receptive creatures and will mirror your tension and anxiety.

From the Ground

Keep yourself calm and stay focused on your horse. Grooming is an excellent way to promote relaxation in your horse. Find a rhythmic stroke and soothe your horse. Be aware of any pain points or signs of discomfort. Many horses respond well to a pre-workout massage. 

Walking exercises will also calm your horse and warm him up for further exercise. Loosening tight muscles will provide more comfort throughout the workout. Give your horse time to adjust to the new stimuli and environment at shows.

From the Saddle

A tense horse when you are in the saddle can be a dangerous situation. Controlling a horse from the saddle is a skill necessary for all riders to learn. If you find a tense horse under your saddle, ride in large circles or serpentines. These motions allow your horse’s body to relax naturally.

Finally, a walk-halt walk can reset your horse into work mode. Just as when you are on the ground, you need to radiate calm. A tense rider will undoubtedly develop an anxious horse.

Benefab SmartScrim for Relaxation

The Benefab SmartScrim is like a horse blanket. However, it has unique features to aid a skittish horse. The SmartScrim is a blanket made from a breathable mesh that emits infrared rays to promote relaxation.

Additionally, the blanket is lined with magnets at precise pressure points. The magnets will stimulate these points to promote blood flow and healing.

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