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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • endurance;
  • heart rate;
  • cardiac recovery index;
  • recovery check;
  • vet-gate

Summary

In an attempt to reduce morbidity, an additional veterinary examination is performed at the end of the hold time - the Recovery Check (RC) - of the last vet gate of all long distance endurance rides held in France. At the RC, a normal FEI-type inspection is performed combined with a cardiac recovery index (CRI): the heart rate is taken before (HR0) and 1 min after (HR1) the horse trotted for 30 m out and back. Results from 12 (130 and 160 km long) rides and based on 489 horses were analysed. Of all RC performed, 10.4% lead to elimination of the horses and lameness was the most frequent reason (45%). Among horses allowed to continue in the ride, elimination rate was significantly higher in horses with HR0>60/min compared to horses with HR0<60. High CRI (HR1-HR0>4) lead to greater disqualification rates only when HR0 was more than 60/min. RC appears to be useful in the assessment of a horse's fitness. However, standardisation of the examination is necessary in order to optimise its use.