Science & Equine

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Written by Isabeau Deckers
Posted in Physiology

Image by: Arioneo

Training load quantification in the equine athlete

The rating of perceived exertion scale (RPE) is validated as a proxy measure for the physiological workload in human
sport alongside the Edwards internal training load calculation. Both methods are validated to monitor training load in human athletes. This study investigated if these methods could potentially offer a simple and repeatable measure of the workload in equine training regimens.
Statistically significant correlations between the heart rate measurements and the calculated internal heart rate were found for both riders’ and trainers’ ratings of training load in all types of sports-horses. The results suggest that the rating of perceived exertion scale and the Edwards internal training load calculations can be used as inexpensive and easy tools to quantify training load and objectively assess progress in training. 

In this video, the rating of perceived exertion and its practical application is explained on a scale from 0 to 20.

Expert opinion by Isabeau Deckers

This study showed that the 'rating of the perceived exertion' scale and the Edwards internal training load calculation are both suitable tools for every rider/ trainer at all levels to assess training intensity for equine athletes. A consistent approach to both tools, adjusted by the related professionals working with the horses, will benefit the horses' performance and welfare, as it can prevent both over and undertraining. Further research is warranted in the exploration of optimal heart rate zone allocation for specific disciplines and breeds, alongside the application of training load monitoring within equestrianism.

> From: Tabor, Comp Exerc Physio 14 (2018) 1. All rights reserved to Tabor, G.. Click here for the online summary.

Image by: Tabor, Gillian