One of my goals for this year was to get a heart monitor, and maybe someday pick up a GPS and figure out how far and how fast we actually go. Check and check!
A heart monitor was one of my Christmas presents to myself. Confetti is not an Arab, does not ride like an Arab, does not pulse down like an Arab. Since that was an issue last year, I want to avoid that this time around. I've learned some things about her 'baseline' reactions and how best to use the HRM right now:
- with our current setup, it doesn't actually kick in until my weight is in the saddle. Don't stress before then if I think it's in about the right place.
- 140 is about the edge of her comfort zone. I can push her past that, but left to her own devices, she'll quit trotting at that til she pulses down some.
- Hills are tough. Steep hills are really genuinely tough, and she's not just making it up to get out of work.
- We can, indeed, get a heart rate of under 50 when walking at pony-speed downhill. Going anywhere fast? No. Relaxed? Yep. This is the walk I need to let her have heading in to the vet checks. If I push her into a trot to keep up when everyone else is walking and pulsing down, she's unlikely to get to drop her pulse much in the process.
I also upgraded to an iPhone. With said phone, I promptly downloaded the "Track my Hack" app. GPS tracking, shows your trail, gives you your total mileage and average speed. Woohoo! No more convoluted interpretations of trail signs to try to see how far we might have gone. Now I can definitively know what kind of speeds we're actually working at.
Which, well, was surprising. That 3mph walk I usually figure I can do? Pony can't do.
We did a short loop in the not-raining humidity on Saturday. It was a slow loop, by human choice more than Haflinger choice. 4.18mi, average speed 3.14mph. Much of the ride was at a quite slow jog. Slower than we usually go, definitely. Faster than Fetti's preferred walk, oh yes indeed. Both ponies were sweaty at the end of it. The humidity likely had more to do with that than the difficulty of the workout... it wasn't particularly hard.
I'm looking forwards to doing some faster rides and figuring out what a 5mph average really ends up feeling like, or how briskly we can comfortably go (in company willing to go with us at speed).