Manfred Coenen, a veterinary researcher at the University of Leipzig, Germany, gave an overview of ATP synthesis in the body at the 17th KER Nutrition Conference, Lexington, KY. Maximal oxygen consumption depends largely on body weight on locomotion. Increases in speed will increase heart rate, and as heart rate increases, so too does oxygen consumption. Therefore, it might be possible to estimate oxygen consumption base on heart rate.
Heart rate recording is a simple way to measure the intensity of exercise, according to Coenen. It can provide useful, objective information about the athletic effort for the rider. The close relationship of heart rate and oxygen consumption can be used to estimate maximal oxygen consumption and aerobic energy expenditure. This information can be used to develop individual training strategies for horses.