There was much to see as always at BETA 2018 in Birmingham and it was exciting to see new horse tech, not just in development mode, but now available to buy.
Want to know how balanced and in sync you are with your horse? The Synchronicity System from Avansce (part of the Neue Schule group) assesses your riding by measuring your rein contact and their mechanical horse was my first stop. The system is designed to fit on live horses as well mechanical ones. Once the horse had moved into canter, the assessment is started by pressing the large button in front of the saddle and my rein contact was now being micro measured for the next 30 seconds. The results showed that overall my contact was good but my left side provides a more consistent contact than my right side. The systems are being sold primarily to coaches and riding centres who can provide assessments and suggest exercises to correct any imbalances. Regularly assessments show how well you are progressing.
Horse tech doesn’t have to be clever electronics. One of the simplest products at the show caught my eye. Do you plait regularly? The Quick Knot is like a paper clip, holding your plait firmly in place and comes out just as quickly. I will certainly be trying that one.
Following the success of their Doggy Bag, The Microfibre Store have developed a rug that should dry your horse in 30 minutes. It’s takes up very little space, making it easy to store and easy to wash. I’ve tried their microfibre “glove” and found it great for drying horses legs, much easier than a towel, and just rinse and wring and it’s ready for the next horse.
The Seaver connected girth is now available to monitor your horse as you ride. Trainers focused on fitness will like the ability to monitor the horses response to exercise and be able to tune their fitness program. The girth measures heart rate and respiration alongside the speed and type of exercise, so it can show calorie burn and recovery rate after exercise. Show Jumpers will be interested in seeing how high the horse is jumping and look at the course jumped.
If you are interested in a more detailed gait analysis, as well as training and fitness information, then the Estride Tracker could be for you. It comes with up to four boots that can measure how each leg is working and show any stride irregularity. This product uses machine learning to customise itself for each horse. There is also a saddle pad that can show, in real time, how you are riding and how well the saddle fits. These products are available to pre-order starting at EUR300.
ArcEquine has a new simpler device for promoting healing. It acts by delivery a tiny micro electric current that stimulates the body's own healing mechanism. Priced at EUR450 it may too expensive for the one horse owner so ArcEquine are looking at encouraging vets to buy this equipment and rent it to us when we need it.
Last year the tech products had very basic functionality, but ayear on and the applications have matured. As these types of produce become part of our toolkit it will be interesting to see what kinds of information are really useful and how we will be use this technology to improve our riding and training of the horse. I look forward to getting my hands on these products to see for myself if they make me a better rider!