Your Horse’s Heart: Equine Heart Rate and Rhythm Studies

by Fran Jurga | 27 October 2009 | The Jurga Report at

How much do you know about your horse’s heart? Not much, probably. It works–but did you know that the horse’s heart is one of the most amazing among all the mammal species?

When a veterinarian listens to a horse’s heart, there’s a lot to hear, as these new videos show. (Nottingham Vet School image)

I always remember people saying that Secretariat’s heart was massively larger than that of a normal horse, and that the heart of the great New Zealand runner Phar Lap is preserved in a museum somewhere and people still come to look at it.

But if you own a racehorse or an eventer or an endurance horse, you’re probably acutely aware of your horse’s cardiovascular system and with the use of heart-rate monitors to keep up with how and when in the exercise or competition cycle your horse is putting his or her heart to full capacity use.

The recent deaths of so many event horses because of cardiopulmonary failure is reason alone to want to know more about how the heart works under stress.

These two videos are from my “greatest hits” album on; they comprise a short documentary made by Ontario Veterinary College last year on their latest research and clinical efforts to improve understanding and care of the horse’s heart.

I hope you will watch it and keep an eye out for lots more information about how the horse’s heart works, both at rest and under stress. Much of the information is new and all of it adds to our body of knowledge to take better care of our horses, by knowing them better from the start.

Thanks to Ontario Veterinary College for making these videos available to share with you.




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