In Greek mythology, Hylonome was one of the female centaurs (named Kentaurides), equivalent to a battle warrior princess in today's Hollywood movies. Hylonome is also the name of the company, founded by women, that has developed an innovative wearable device for horse and rider called Hylofit. From myth to reality, this product will become a breakthrough solution in the equestrian world as it launches later this year. The Tech Equestrian had a chance to get an inside look at the history, development, and plans for bringing this product to life with Hylonome Co-Founder, Kate Motley.
The Quest for Immediate Results
Eliane van Reesema, a competitive international dressage rider from The Netherlands, encountered a common problem for many sport riders - the struggle of bringing a horse back from injury. "A month after her Grand Prix horse was cleared to train, he re-aggraveted his injury," Motley recalled. "Elaine was frustrated and believed there must be a better way to obtain insight and prevent this from happening." Elaine met Cees van Beckhoven, an equine heart rate specialist from The Netherlands and with his help began using heart rate to gain greater insights into her training. The process was extensive, often taking days for Cees to analyze her training sessions and provide feedback. Eliane loved the data but wanted immediate results. Seeing that there was nothing on the market to meet her training needs, Eliane approached Kate and her business partner, Laxmi Wordham and together they set out on a journey to create a wearable technology product for the equine market.
“We thought this could be big and we were committed to developing a solution, but it had to be real-time and easy to use.”
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Complementing the extensive competitive riding background of Eliane, Kate Motley brings a wealth of experience working on new product development from a range of companies including the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. Laxmi Wordham lends her digital innovation expertise to the business from her past role as Chief Digital Officer at The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Cees van Beckhoven joined the team as a scientific advisor and equine heart rate specialist. In August 2016, the four started working together and in October 2016 the company was formed.
"Hylonome is a technology company in the horse space where real-time data provides powerful insights like never before." At the Heart of the Product
"The beauty of this product is that it allows heart rate to be the voice of the horse," said Motley. Hylofit displays the heart rate of both horse and rider in real-time giving a holistic view of optimal performance. The data is gathered from an unobtrusive strap under the girth that transmits directly via Bluetooth to an app on the phone. The product is available for iOS and Android. There is also an auxiliary watch app for real-time heart rate display during the ride. Over time you can track the intensity level of your rides and take into consideration external factors - weather, temperature, duration and type of training to establish baseline measurements you and your trainer can review and assess.
“Because we know that horses don’t always show their conditions, Hylofit can help reinforce what your gut instinct is telling you.”
There are many uses for this product, not just in training, but also in monitoring the well being of your horse. "A horse's resting heart rate (RHR) is a window into their overall health," pointed out Motley. "Frequent monitoring of RHR is a great tool and could help indicate readiness to train or provide an early detection for injury."