Elite British horses to benefit from fighter jet technology

  • British equestrian teams are set to benefit from advanced technology as used in fighter jets with the aim of maximising performance.

    The Equus-Sense unit, produced by BAE Systems and co-ordinated by the performance innovation team for the English Institute of Sport, was created for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) to monitor factors such as sound, temperature, humidity, dust levels and oxygen when travelling horses to international competitions.

    A spokesman for BAE Systems said: “As with athletes, the performance of horses flying to international competition can be adversely affected by the symptoms of long-haul air travel. Engineers at BAE Systems were asked to provide a technical solution to overcome the impact of long haul travel to ensure the animals arrive in a peak state of health and fitness; ready for competition.

    “Equus-Sense can be housed in any travelling environment for horses, and will sense and log environmental conditions during transit. It allows trainers to evaluate the individual conditions of horses upon arrival at competitions to make informed decisions on their readiness to compete.”

    The unit provides a “complete monitoring unit” for horses and is built upon sensor systems such as those used to monitor cockpit conditions and air quality in combat aircrafts.

    Henry White, UK sport partnership lead at BAE Systems, said: “We develop aircraft and equipment monitoring technology which helps ensure our fighter pilots are as comfortable as possible to enable them to realise their incredible skills and there is no reason why horses cannot benefit from this.

    “Applying such technology to horse transportation had its challenges but our expert engineers have developed such a system allowing the equestrian competitors to benefit and help gain an advantage.”

    John McEwen, director of equine sports science and medicine for the BEF’s World Class Programme, said the project had been valuable and improved “elite” horse transport.

    This is an area that can have a major performance effect and we are grateful to BAE Systems for their scientific support,” he said.

    “Small marginal gains are very important to us, to provide maximal performance, and the travel environment is critical to this. The improvements made will ensure the highest level of welfare for our elite horses and ensure that they travel first class.”

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