Fitbits, Garmins and Apple watches are all part of an enormous, growing wearable device industry. According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report, it was forecasted that 125.5 million wearable devices would be shipped in 2017 alone. Naturally, this wearable device industry has expanded to include animals, and according to a report by IDTechEx, global growth of animal wearable devices has been predicted to soar in the next 1o years from $0.91 billion to 2.6 billion. But how does that impact you and your horse? It means having the ability to train smarter to improve performance and prevent injury.
A little over a year ago, Eliane van Reesema, Kate Motely and Laxmi Wordham took a leap into this industry and founded Hylofit, an equine wearable device due to be released in 2018. Hylofit enables a rider to monitor his or her horse’s fitness (and his or her own) in real time, providing the necessary data to make training based on not only how the horse feels, but also on its heart rate.
Once again, the business was born out of need. Two years, ago, van Reesema, a Grand Prix dressage competitor, was bringing her horse back from injury. The veterinarian had cleared him to return to work, but only two months later her horse’s injury was re-aggravated, and he was sidelined again. It was this frustrating experience, followed by working with Cees van Beckhoven (now the company’s scientific advisor) that resulted in the creation of Hylofit.
Van Beckhoven has been monitoring equine heart rates for more then 20 years and is an internationally acclaimed peomoter of using pulse measurement as a training tool for athletes. Once van Reesema began incorporating heart-rate monitoring into her horse’s training, she knew the system worked- but she wanted the data in real time so she could make decisions instantly. It was then that van Reesema joined forces with Motely and Wordham, and the plan for Hylofit was set into motion.
Motely explained that a horse’s resting heart rate never changes, so its easy to use a baseline for health and fitness. If your horse is standing on the cross ties and his resting heart rate is elevated, it could indicate a problem.