>Dirt vs Synthetic surfaces and training intensity

>Sorry for the lack of posting recently, but still fighting off the effects of the flu.

I have to preface what follows by stating I only have limited data on polytrack training sessions at Keeneland, but the findings seem to be startling.
Concerning horses yet to break their maidens, I’ve charted many half mile breezes on dirt during training and heart rate recoveries are typically around 80%. Heart rate recovery is defined as how closely the profile hits 120bpm and 80bpm and 2 and 5 min post breeze. 
However, I see the same HR recovery profile for maidens on polytrack at 6 furlongs! What that tells me is horses going over the polytrack are stressed as much as 50% less than going on dirt.
Anecdotally, it seems west coast based trainers do more 6F and longer breezes compared to east coast trainers. But with the intro of more polytrack training tracks to the KY area, local trainers might need to consider lengthening their breeze sesssions in order to get the same conditioning effect.

About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on March 2, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Bill could you explain the ‘Heart rate recovery is defined as how closely the profile hits 120bpm and 80bpm and 2 and 5 min post breeze. ‘ in more detail. I am not sure how you arrive at a figure of 80%


    • Hi John-

      The ideal recovery as mentioned is a HR of 120bpm or lower 2min past the wire, and 80bpm or lower 5min past the wire – after a fast work. A horse exhibiting numbers of precisely 120 and 80 can be considered 100% recovered. Data showing 140bpm and 110bpm totals 250bpm where 200bpm (120+80) is ideal; therefore this horse is cumulatively 50bpm too high – or 50/200 = 75% recovered.

      In my experience, any recovery data showing 60% or worse recovery is a bad sign – the workload needs to be adjusted downward, either slower or less distance, in order to effect the desired training response. On the flip side, recoveries near 95% are the ‘green light’ to either speed up or lengthen the next session.

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