There are two easy methods to taking a horse's pulse: one that involves a stethoscope, and one that doesn't. We'll start with the stethoscope method first, even though it is not the one I normally use:
Step 1: Make sure the stethoscope ear pieces are snugly fitted in your ears!
|I'm either turning into my mother or my little brother, not sure which.|
Step 2: Stand on the horse's left side, facing the hind end.
Step 3: Place the stethoscope a few inches behind the elbow on the horse's side.
|This region, closer to the elbow. Move the stethoscope around til you find it.|
Step 4: Listen for and identify the horse's heart sounds. It should be a two beat "dub-dub" sound. Being awesome cardiovascular athletes, horses' heart rates are naturally pretty slow, so be patient if you don't hear it immediately.
Step 5: When you're sure you have it, start a timer for 30 seconds, and double that for the Beats Per Minute (BPM). Note: For humans you can set the timer for 10 seconds, because our heart rate is much faster than horses. 30 seconds will give a more accurate reading for a horse. Record the BPM.
Step 1: Find the maxillary artery by cupping your hand around one side of your horse's jawbone, under the cheek. Move your hand around until you find it. It is about the diameter of a wooden pencil, and rolls around on the bone like a big piece of spaghetti. You can't miss it!
|This is where I found Connor's. It's underneath my index finger on the jawbone.|
Step 2: Keep your fingers lightly pressed against it until you get a good feel for the rhythm.
Step 3: Start your timer for 30 seconds, counting the number of beats. Double that number to get the Beats Per Minute (BPM).