More and more of us are counting our steps, tracking our sleeping patterns, measuring our heart rate and recording our workouts than ever before. But what about your horse, and his vital statistics? There are now more ways than ever to keep close tabs on your horse’s health, happiness, fitness and performance with these innovative pieces of equine wearable technology
1. The ‘FitBit’ for horses
The water-resistant, shockproof Estride tracker (below) node slots into a fetlock boot, available in either easy-care neoprene or smarter leather. Data collected from the horse’s leg movement is transmitted to a remote controller, which stores the information for you to access via an app on your smartphone or computer.
Estride is particularly useful for gait and stride analysis — you can monitor the consistency of your horse’s stride pattern to help you spot any irregularities, or keep track of progress following injury or lameness. The device also measures your horse’s calorie burn and jumping efforts, with easy-to-compare data.
The cost: From £299
2. The one to help with rugging dilemmas
Designed to tackle the problem of over-rugging, Arioneo’s Orscana is a connected sensor that attached underneath rugs to detect horses’ activity, temperature and sweat levels, warning you via an app if your horse is deemed to be out of his comfort zone. It also links to weather forecast data.
It’s been used successfully by several international riders.
“The information Orscana provided showed that I was using more rugs than necessary and our rug regime has completely changed as a result,” says Phill Snow, groom to international showjumper Jess Mendoza.
The cost: £87
3. The 24-hour equine monitor
The waterproof Trackener Life device can be placed either in a lycra bib when your horse is stabled, or in the field, or into a girth strap for use while riding. Using motion sensors and GPS, it measures activity, sleep and stress levels based on the horse’s movements while resting, and can also track your training sessions, showing you how much time you have spent in each gait and on each rein.
The more advanced Trackener Life HR version also measures your horse’s heart rate with a sensor strap placed under a saddle pad, helping you keep tabs on his fitness levels.
The cost: From £299 (currently available to order with 30% off)
4. The handy training tool
The Seaver connected girth sleeve measures your horse’s heart rate, recovery time and calories burned. As well as giving insights into your horse’s health and fitness it’s a valuable training tool, measuring speed, distance covered, number of strides, left/right lead and jumping height and effort, with the option to replay your jumping courses on the app.
It has been tested by showjumper Roger-Yves Bost and eventer Thomas Carlile, and is available as just the sleeve — which comes in a variety of sizes and fits any style of girth — or with a hand-made girth, in four different styles.
The cost: €329 (£289) for the sleeve, €549 (£482) for the girth
5. The all-round yard management system
Horsepal is a new horse monitoring system from Horseware — a winner in the BETA Innovation Awards 2018 — uses a temperature and humidity sensor that sits underneath a rug, and sends detailed data about your horse’s well-being to your phone via Bluetooth when you are within range of the device. You can add extra users to the app, such as a yard manager, groom or family member, as well as multiple horses, and the app can also be used as an all-round stable management database to track visits from the vet and farrier, and record horses’ weight, worming and vaccination schedule and general health.
The sensor holds up to three days of data, and has a battery life of 1-2 years, with replacement batteries available.
The cost: £40
6. The livestream for busy trainers
Handy for owners and trainers, and proving particularly useful in racing, the EquinITY app allows you to livestream your horse’s speed, heart rate, stride and split interval timings while he is working from anywhere in the world, with the ability to monitor multiple horses at once. The monitor is integrated into a girth sleeve with single-button operation, and provides heart rate averages and maximums as well as recovery time. The data can be transmitted to the rider via a Bluetooth-enabled headset, and can also be analysed and replayed in detail.
The cost: £1,050
7. The one that learns your horse’s habits
The re-chargeable Nightwatch headcollar contains multiple sensors to monitor your horse’s vital signs and behaviours, alerting you via text, phone call and/or email whenever signs of distress, such as colic, injury or being cast, are detected. It records heart and respiratory rate, activity levels, motion and posture, and connects to your phone remotely via cellular and wi-fi networks so you can keep track of his well-being anywhere, any time, and with a score calculated on a 10-point Equine Distress Index (EDI) to help you differentiate between stress and distress.
The adaptive sensors also grow to learn your horse’s behavioural patterns, picking up and alerting you to changes.
Nightwatch is available as a leather headcollar or a small safety collar, that fits just behind the poll.
The cost: From $699 (£497)
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