Hylofit Monitor: Kristine's Experience

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Kristine Hartman, Thomas Fire survivor, adventurist extraordinaire, and Tevis Cup veteran has been testing out a new tool in her Endurance training toolbox: the Hylofit System. Following the devastation of the Thomas Fire, Kristine's priorities shifted, and her training schedule and perspective towards competitions changed, too. Now, she finds herself proudly integrating Hylofit in her everyday training regimen, pioneering this heart rate monitor system in the Endurance community. Read on to get Kristine's insight on how Hylofit allows her to train smarter and better optimize her time in the saddle.

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How Does Hylofit Fit In?

For Kristine, the most critical component of her Endurance horses' training regimen is long, slow distance work.

Hylofit is great to keep tabs on heart rate,” Kristine explained. “During your rides, one of the biggest parts of training is just getting used to being in the saddle for prolonged periods of time. By introducing longer rides at variable speeds and keeping track of heart rate information, you can see when you’re achieving your intensity goals and tailor your riding time accordingly.”

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Kristine and Tessie during a training ride on the Auburn Tevis Trail

Kristine also integrates lots of hill work into her training rides to make her training schedule as effective as possible and reduce unnecessary wear and tear on her horses' legs. “A lot of people over train,” Kristine commented. “You see so many people asking how to train a horse for an endurance race while working a full-time job," she added.

"It’s all about optimizing the training;
you don’t have to work them
hard every single day.”

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Analytics from Kristine and Klassy Sam's training ride on the Auburn Tevis trail. On the left you can see a GPS zone map, using colors to indicate the location of various intensity zones. On the right, you can see how much time Klassy Sam spent in each heart rate intensity zone.

But how do you know exactly how hard you're pushing your horse's fitness and training? Heart rate is a great indicator of your horse's physical and mental wellbeing. That's why having heart rate tracking in real-time is invaluable. “I don’t really want to get their heart rate up over the 180 to 190 beats per minute range, so keeping track with Hylofit in real-time helps me know when this range is reached,” Kristine said.

"Having Hylofit allows me to know
exactly how hard to push each horse."

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On the left, you see analytics overlaying Kristine and Klassy Sam's heart rate over time. On the right, you see analytics overlaying the horse's heart rate (red) and speed (grey) over time.
Kristine is now using the Hylofit during each and every ride, including competitions, training, and lunging work on the ground. "The app stores all data for each horse which are easy to analyze. Since I am only in my sixth week of usage, I’m still getting comfortable with the Hylofit and learning its benefits, but the information I am gathering is invaluable to peek into my horses training," she said.

As an added bonus, Hylofit offers a live recording video tool, which overlays horse and rider heart rate in real time over the video footage. Kristine and Tessie took advantage of this feature at the American River Classic ride.

In the first video, Kristine and Tessie are climbing a hill as they approach the 30-mile vet check. In the second video, Kristine and Tessie are 6 miles away from the finish line, and we can see in real-time how their heart rates change as they climb hills and change gaits. Kristine of course wishes everybody she passes a wonderful day!



How Has Training and Competing Changed with Hylofit?

For Kristine, having access to real-time heart rate data through Hylofit has been especially instrumental in tracking recovery. "In our discipline, the recovery and resting heart rate is so important. I can’t stress this fact enough. You must know what it takes for your horse to drop to the required 60 bpm to pass a pulse check at a vet check. This is Endurance 101!"

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Kristine and Tessie at the 2019 American River Classic ride, of course showing off their colorful style | P.C - Gore Baylor Photography

“Different competitions will set different time ranges for the heart rate to come down, but Hylofit makes it easy for me to see this information in my training,” Kristine said. "The Hylofit is so clear and precise as it’s monitoring the horse's heart rate as he drinks and starts to rest. You can see in real-time how long it’s taking for him to get back to his resting heart rate."

How does this factor in to your ride strategy? "A key advantage of knowing your horses' usual heart rates at each gait, during a hill climb, and recovery time is that you get a heads-up if your horse is pain, ill, or if it's simply not his day," Kristine pointed out.

"A drastic change in his recovery heart
rate or resting rate can be him telling
you, 'hey, I’m not feeling quite right!'"


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Kristine jogging out at one of the vet checks at the American River Classic ride | P.C - Gore Baylor Photography

Maybe our horses can't actually talk to us, but as Kristine pointed out, the data on the Hylofit app at least "gives us a clue to what just might be brewing within!"

Key Takeaways From Hylofit Experience

So what are the key takeaways that Kristine would pass along to other riders considering a heart rate monitor? "In the endurance world, we not only want to keep an eye on our horses heart rate (that’s number one), but we always also want to know the miles we're getting in, the speed (both average and maximum), and the route," Kristine summarized.

"I have kept track of mileage ever
since my first GPS watch many
years ago, but now with Hylofit, this is
all on one screen! Yes ONE screen."​

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Kristine and Tessie, loving every moment of every ride | P.C - Dominique Cognee

Hylofit keeps a log of all rides and training sessions to review in a moments notice within the convenience of one app on your phone. "The app also includes the rider's heart rate in real-time so you can track your own fitness level," Kristine mentioned. For Endurance riders, this is particularly important. "They can’t do it without our help! To be in a saddle 25 to 100 miles, you must be fit to be a team with your horse, especially when you're off the horse jogging, which in our discipline we do often."

Kristine is also an ultra marathon runner, so for her the Hylofit system does double duty. "I have worn the device running to see my own heart rate in real time. It’s so interesting!"

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Kristine dressed up in color for an ultra marathon run!

"Bottom line: know your ride, and your runs," Kristine exclaimed. "My horses and I are two yet the Hylofit makes us one." For Kristine, at the heart of her training is a simple desire to truly know her horse. “There is no substitute for truly knowing your horse and having a sense of partnership,” she said. “Hylofit has helped take the guesswork out.”

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Kristine and Tessie, always smiling and taking a moment to stop and smell the roses | P.C - Dominique Cognee

Thank you so much to Kristine for sharing her experience with Hylofit. Kristine never ceases to inspire us with her unwavering positivity and colorful spirit in all walks of life. And of course, huge thanks to Hylofit for supporting riders like Kristine, who are driven by a passion for the sport and a simple desire to truly know their horses. Check out Hylofit's full interview with Kristine here to get more on Kristine's transformation after the Thomas Fire and how Hylofit fits in with her shifting priorities.
 
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