Both veterinarians and competitors would like to have a parameter that is 100% objective and would tell us whether a horse is fit to continue. Early in this sport that parameter was thought to be the heart rate. Every- one, veterinarians included, tried to establish a magic number. The early “number” was 72 beats per minute. To many competitors this meant that a heart rate of 72 was okay but a heart rate of 73 was not. Most competi- tors believed that even if other parameters were poor, because the pulse was 72 or less the horse should have no problems continuing. Even the veterinarians tend- ed to fall into this trap. Though it doesn’t take much thought to recognize the patent fallacies of this con- cept, it still woos us we just replace the 72 with lower pulse numbers.
This mystique has, unfortunately, been transferred to use of the Cardiac Recovery Index as providing the “magic number,” and the “objective and, incontrovert- ible piece of data.” Many see it as an “either you pass it or you don’t pass it” mentality.
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