Getting horses ready for courses - Embedded.com

Getting horses ready for courses

LONDON — A product under development will allow thoroughbred horse breeders and trainers to analyse a horse’s performance during training, whether they are on the gallops or on the other side of the world.

The system has been developed by UK engineering consultancy Cambridge Design Partnership, together with British Endurance Team member Dominique Freeman. It combines a GPS receiver with biological and environmental sensors into a single lightweight package carried by the horse.

The device can simultaneously monitor the horses performance, physiology and environmental conditions. This can be displayed in real-time to the rider or transmitted live around the world. Bespoke software delivers highly accurate analysis of a horse’s performance and fitness, as well as assistance in managing and quantifying the effect of training regimes.

Trainers and owners who have previously had to rely on trackside observations in combination with occasional treadmill tests to collect this information can now collect all of this data, all of the time, in any location. Multiple horses can be monitored simultaneously, and the software allows the comparison of the performance between different horses and over time. All data is securely stored electronically, but can then be shared at the user’s discretion to other interested parties or specialists.

Whilst principally designed to assist training, the device has also been found to assist during competition itself. Using a prototype, Dominique Freeman recently completed the Haras Endurance 160km race in Braganca, Brazil on ‘Roger’, taking the trophy for 'Best Condition'.

This horse had never previously been ridden in competition by Dominique, and never in a 100 mile race, and she contributes much of her success to the device. “Accurate knowledge of Roger’s speed and heart rate allowed me to better control his pace. When combined with the other parameters, the team was able to plan electrolyte and carbohydrate intake and so get the very best from Roger.”

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