Riders struggling to focus their horses’ attention could be helped by the release of an innovative new product.
HorseCom was developed by rider Marine Kajdasr and her brother Hugo Kajdas, an engineer, when Marine was trying to forge a partnership with her young and talented, but challenging mare.
Hugo had read a study that music could spark behavioral changes in certain species and the idea for HorseCom was born.
HorseCom comprises of three main elements: Bluetooth speakers inside the HorseCom bonnet worn by the horse, a rider headset, which allows the rider also to enjoy the music, speak to the horse through the microphone, and speak to their trainer, and the HorseCom app.
The interactive application allows riders to manage their ride and music through their smartphones.
Through the app, HorseCom subscribers also receive access to HorseCom Music, tunes developed specifically for the horses by the company’s sound engineers, and HorseCom TV, which offers educational videos, riding exercises, and community stories all “devoted to increasing harmony between horse and rider”.
After creating a prototype, Hugo approached the French National Stud in Normandy to test the device.
In 2014 and 2015 two independent studies were carried out.
They found that horses using the unit under saddle, during transport in a lorry, and while with the farrier were shown to maintain a lower stress level as determined by their breathing and heart rate.
Horses using the unit also showed a post-stress recovery on average 15 minutes faster than the test groups not equipped with the unit.
“We have formed a committee of equine health professionals who collaborate on the continuous development and studies in regards to increasing the wellbeing of horses through music,” added a HorseCom spokesman.
“Throughout our testing we have used primarily classical music, notably during the scientific study the soundtrack to the film Forrest Gump, by Alan Silvestri.
“That said, generally hard rock or electro aren’t top choices for the horses tuning in, but we’ve had good results with jazz and even some top 40 songs that match the horses’ natural gaits.
“Music that has a beat per minute similar to the horses’ natural rhythm is the most effective, so it varies with the gait of the horse.”
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French Olympic riders Kevin Staut and Karim Laghouag have tested Horsecom, as well as British showjumper Yazmin Pinchen.
“[At competitions it can be] really overwhelming for a horse so if they’ve got music in their ears most days that’s going to be nothing for them,” Yazmin said.
The units will be available online in the UK in July, and there are three pricing structures:
• £199 purchase price with 24-month subscription to HorseCom Music and TV of £29 per month
• £399 purchase price with 12-month subscription
• £799 purchase price with no subscription (although the subscription can be added later if desired)