The Top 5 Ways Technology Can Help Equestrians and Their Horses
"My name is Juliana Chapman and I am this week's guest blogger for GoHorse.com. I have been horseback riding since I was 10 and showed hunt seat equitation and hunters in New England my junior years and as an adult showed in the Bahamas. I have an extensive background in technology marketing working for the world's largest IT advisory firm along with other tech companies and enjoy writing young adult fiction. My idea for The Tech Equestrian combines all three of my backgrounds and is a blog I hope will educate, amaze, and connect equestrians with the latest tech products and services in the market or prelaunch for the horse world."
One of the beauties of riding horses and being around horses is that they are a great escape from the ‘real world’ – a time to focus on the care of your horse, your riding, and/or the maintenance of their stable. And, as we know, in the ‘real world’ we are surrounded by technology, which is part of our work, home, and/or school life. We nod our heads on understanding the benefits technology affords us, it’s a timesaver, it can help make us more productive and it can keep our loved ones informed of what we are doing (like being at the barn!). So how are these two worlds converging and what are the benefits?
At The Tech Equestrian, a tech-focused and equestrian lifestyle blog, we are always on the hunt to find out what’s new and what’s next as it relates to technological advancements and the products and services that are impacting the horse world. In 9 months time, since the launch of the blog, we have interviewed 26 equine tech vendors from around the world who offer a range of solutions focused on both the horse and rider, and there are many more to cover. In summary, technology is becoming more and more common in the horse world and its time to embrace it or at least keep an open mind to how it can help you and your horse. To give you some examples, we’ve come up with 5 ways technology can help equestrians and their horses:
1. Help Accurately Manage Your Horse’s Health
There are numerous apps and web applications on the market today to help you manage and track your horse’s health, everything from shots to x-rays to vet appointments and so much more. In the past you had to rely on written notes, whiteboards or your memory on when services were performed – it can be hard to keep track, especially if you have a horse that requires more than routine care or more than one horse. Another reason to start digital entries on your horse’s health is you can easily share with your vet, farrier, dentist, and others caregivers, exercisers at the barn, so if you aren’t available they can easily access the information with your permission set up in advance. Lastly, by having a digital view of your horse’s health you can have an accurate history for when you sell your horse or are ready to breed or just need to quickly review to make changes in their overall care.
The Tech Equestrian has written about many of the top barn management and horse care apps and software solutions including:
The Equestrian: http://bit.ly/TTE_Equestrian
Stable Secretary: http://bit.ly/TTE_Stable_Secretary
2. Horse & Rider Safety
As we know horseback riding can be a dangerous hobby/sport and sometimes you can never be too careful when out on the trail riding alone, even if you have your cell phone with you. Today’s technology is becoming more advanced when it comes to ride tracking using sensors in smartphones or through wearable devices on horse and rider that triggered by a fall sends a signal across the network to alert your list of contacts. Even if you are in a group, it is helpful to alert others at the barn if anything should happen, especially if you have a loose horse or need medical assistance.
New products about to be released on the market include:
EquiSure (November 2018): http://bit.ly/TTE_EquiSure
Tagalo (Q4 2018): http://bit.ly/TTE_Tagalo
In addition to riding safety, more horse safety solutions are gaining awareness with equestrians including NightWatch’s smart halter wearable designed to give advance warning if your horse develops colic by detecting stress through the movements of your horse via the halter. To gain a 24/7 view of your horse in its stall there is now intelligent camera surveillance offered by StableGuard and for a portable video solution, StallWatch can support that. All of these vendors have developed apps that incorporate live feeds and a dashboard that details your horse's actions and will send alerts if something is out of the ordinary.
3. Services Make Horse Showing Easier
For the horse show professional or amateur or horse show mom/dad there are a wide variety of ways tech service providers can help make your show experience easy and seamless and some exciting new ones are planned. Starting with the braiding – there is a services app for that called HorseLinc; and for the trailering aspect, Equo and EquiRide are the go-to digital transportation sources that make it easy to select the date of departure, price range, location and more and you’ll get a quote within minutes with easy payment online processing, plus confirmation and real-time transport tracking so you know where your horse is during the trip. If you need stabling options, there are three providers who can help with that: GoHorse.com, Staller, and StallDestinations all with similar functionality but unique features. For instance, GoHorse.com offers more than stabling options and can display many service providers to choose from and is in the process of adding new functionality on a routine basis.
If you are a barn owner, and you have stall space to rent, you should check out the options available to post your barn.
One area that Staller has also started to expand in is the horse show experience itself – called Staller Shows – it will be the one digital source for all horse show services – entries, prizes, results for the exhibitor, sponsor and spectators – official launch will take place in January 2019 – talk about seamless!
4. Aid Performance
As a competitor, it is hard work to train and be consistent over time, in addition to managing injury recovery and that is where intelligent data on your horse, horse’s health and performance can really be helpful. In the last 2 years, specific tech vendors have emerged that can assist with that goal. Hylofit, is a wearable device on the girth that transmits directly via Bluetooth to an app – the real-time data generated focuses on the heart rate of the horse and rider which is powerful in determining overall fitness, endurance, and wellness. At Ekinox, they designed a suit for the horse that taps into Electronic Muscle Simulation (EMS) to help with rehab or high-performance training for equine athletes. The suit can train 12 major muscle groups at the same time, reduce workout time, provide freedom of movement and monitor heart rate. There are two other vendors based in the UK, Trackener and Equisense who also feature wearables geared toward health and performance management.
5. Never Feel Alone
As an equestrian, you have a group of riders you ride with or know and possibly a trainer or two – but there is an entire horse community that goes through the same ups and downs of riding and technology is available to connect you to the wider community. Apps today help you share stories, photos, videos, opinions, follow experts and more. There are a few vendors who are in the US that are on a mission to expand and enrich the horse community including mystride, The Equestrian, who wants to make it easy for people to follow and connect and PonyApp who has built their brand on leveraging the community using personalized pony avatars, contests, content and more to spur engagement. Across the pond, horse tech innovator, Huufe is all about building community and focuses on ride tracking and sharing, creating or joining groups and clubs and encouraging the exchange of information and more.
PonyApp and The Equestrian are also featured under number one.
I hope the above gives you some examples of how technology can help with the many aspects of being an equestrian. We want our horses to be happy and healthy and live long lives, and now technology can help in that quest in so many ways. For more tech providers and general tech stories, visit my blog at thetechequestrian.com.
At GoHorse.com we believe our users and community are filled with experts and unique people who can offer valuable insights from their experiences. We use guest blogging as a way to give them a voice and a platform for sharing their information and knowledge. These are their opinions and recommendations and not those of GoHorse. If you too would like to write for us please contact us here.