In college, one of the first things we had to do freshman year was take our assigned school horse's vitals for an entire week, average them, and put that information into his health chart. It was imposed on us early that your horse's normal resting vital signs are a really important piece of information you need to know. Knowing whether your horse "runs hot", for example, can help you understand how significant his fever really is, and knowing his normal heart rate can help you keep tabs on his exertion rate during conditioning.
|Me and my senior year stable management horse, Bandit. I'm wearing my backpack because I had to bring him in from turnout so he'd be ready for his class, while I was on the way to a class of my own. Equine college was great.|
Unfortunately, if you don't already have them before you need them (illness, exercise, etc), you just have to go off of what's normal for the average horse, which is:
Temperature: 99-101 F
Pulse: 28-44 beats per minute
Respiration: 10-24 breaths per minute
|Seattle, my first stable management horse freshman year. Jockey Club: Seattle Flashdance|
Of course, I don't practice what I preach and haven't written any of it down for Connor yet, but that's changing now and I want you to do it with me! Who's up for a Blogger TPR Challenge? Everyone who successfully takes their horse's average vitals will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Riding Warehouse gift certificate! (And really, everyone wins, since you'll have your horse's TPRs at the end.)
Here's how it will work. Over the next week, I'm going to do posts on how to get the TPR readings. You'll also need to gather some equipment. Then, we'll get five days of resting readings - so don't take them if your horse is high as a kite, or sick, or anticipating the feed cart, or just finished a tough workout.
The days don't have to be consecutive, since a lot of us boarders can't make it out five days in a row.
|Another of my stable management charges over the years, Pass. Jockey Club and USEA: Passing Approval.|
To enter, take five days of readings, then write one blog post afterward containing your horse's five readings, as well as the average (which is the number we're looking for), and add that post to the blog hop when it opens. The challenge will start on June 1 and close on June 15.
You'll need to buy a digital thermometer ($7.95 at Smartpak), and lube (KY Jelly works great for both temperature taking and sheath cleaning!). Optionally, you can buy a stethoscope ($9.95 at Smartpak) for more accurate heart rate measurements, but it's not 100% necessary. I like having it on hand to listen to gut sounds too.
This is going to be fun!