Use Technology for Your Horse – Monitor Your Horse’s Health and Fitness
When I took home my very first horse of my own, we were still using answering machines. Flip phones had not yet been invented. Faxing was still an “easy” way to sending paperwork. Fast forward some years, and you can now track so many different things about your horse through the wonders of technology. How on earth did we ever function before?
Ways to monitor your horse’s vital signs, behaviors, and comfort using technology
The Nightwatch halter system tracks your horse’s vital signs and activities using real time data. It connects to an app which can send you alerts if needed. Your horse needs to wear the leather halter, which has a 12-ish hour battery life, so it needs to be recharged daily. You pay for the halter and then a monthly fee for the monitoring.
Face harnesses and headgear.
Both Farm Jenny in the US and Hoofstep in the UK and Sweden have lightweight locating units that your horse wears on his noggin. Sort of like a headband, but fancier, and not a halter. The units are positioning systems that allow you to track your horse’s position on the farm and deduce his behaviors. Variations on normal behavior can be sent to you as an alert in some cases. These also require subscriptions. Some of the batteries available last weeks at a time, with minimal charging. They don’t measure vital signs but are more weatherproof than other options.
This is the Farm Jenny “halter” that secures the monitoring system.
Trackener is a system from the UK that allows you to track your horse’s heart rate, location, sleep, and activities. It’s not yet available in the US, but maybe soon! It can be used when exercising under saddle, or when your horse is left to his own devices in turnout or in the barn. It’s a great combo of heart rate plus behavior monitoring.
The Equisense family of products combines heart rate monitoring and GPS information, as well as all sorts of other information about your horse’s workout – even how many jumps you took and your horse’s regularity and cadence. This is a European company, but it appears they ship worldwide.
For US-based options, Polar offer heart rate monitoring for horses. Polar has horse items as well as dozens of human heart rate monitoring options.
Sample of some gear your horse might wear to be monitored.
Believe it or not, the Estride can measure your horse’s gaits – regularity, stride count, time, and more. Their website says it can help with lameness and injury recovery and rehab. They have other products as well, like a wrist band for hand steadiness, saddle pressure mats to see forces exerted while in the saddle.
There’s a company called Arioneo, and they have developed an app that lets to attach a sensor to your horse’s blanket. What does this do? The Orscana sensor is linked to an app. The actual sensor is attached to your horse’s blanket and can monitor your horse’s motion and any signs of sweating under a blanket. It gets fancier as it can sync to the weather forecast to make blanket recommendations for you.
Horseware has a similar system in their Horsepal app and sensor. Also working from temperature and humidity, this sensor can also link to weather forecasts and help you pick the best blankets. The Horsepal app also stands alone from the sensor and can be used as a barn management tool to log activities, vets/farriers, medical information, etc.
A sample of some data, detailing your horse’s activity on the Farm Jenny App.
Camera systems for horses.
Trailer Eyes has a whole series of wireless cameras for your barn and rig. Equicom and Stallwatch are other options as well. Need a camera inside? Sure. Need one outside? Also fine. You can even get systems such as Nest for outdoors, which isn’t geared towards horses but might be just fine.
Barn management systems that help you stay organized.
There are literally dozens of these types of software programs, designed to keep a barn running smoothly and efficiently. Some software is geared towards organization, and some is geared towards bookkeeping. This website has tons of barn software options and links. https://www.capterra.com/horse-software/
If you choose to use technology for your horse, do remember that these are just tools. Nothing will ever replace you memorizing your horse and looking up from your phone to spend actual time with him.
It’s not enough to simply rely on technology, you still need to take an active role in your horse’s grooming, care, and behaviors.
If you want to easily shop for equine technologies, you can click these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support!
ADC Veterinary Thermometer, Dual Scale, Adtemp 422 – For easy temperature taking
3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope, Black Edition Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 inch, 5803 – For finding heart rate and gut sounds