Tech

Hannover startup develops horse fitness tech

A German startup is hoping to break into the fitness-tracking market - for horses. Hannover-based 'Horse Analytics' has developed a horse fitness smartphone app and is working on a fitness tracker.

Fitness apps and wearable fitness trackers, such as armbands, watches and chest straps, have become a huge global business. So are horses: both as a hobby for enthusiasts and in the global competition circuit. So, why not combine the two and create high-tech fitness tools for horses? Enter ‘Horse Analytics’, a Hannover-based company founded by 25-year-old entrepreneur Enri Strobel. Backed with 200,000 euros (approx. 228,000 US dollars) by German investor and seed-accelerator Venture Villa, Horse Analytics has developed this fitness smartphone app for horses. It’s also currently working on a fitness tracker that can best be described as a “Fitbit for horses.” Strobel, who just finished her Bachelor’s thesis on 3D printing, had the idea when she was training with a horse polo team. “I’ve been riding horses since I was 17,” she says. “And I have notice that people that own horses find it hard to know if they have trained the horses enough ahead of a tournament. “Has the horse moved enough? Either when it was training or throughout the day when it was on the fields. “And, of course, you also want to know what happens when the horse is not in the stable. What is going on with the horse then? So that is why I started to develop a horse tracker.” The app uses the accelerometer and gyroscope in the smartphone to monitor how the horse is moving – the smartphone can simply be in the pocket of the rider. Once the training session is over, the rider can see how fast the horse moved, when it was walking, trotting and galloping and how long the session lasted. The fitness tracker, which attaches to the bridle or the halter of the horse, can track the horse’s movements 24-hours-a-day. The company is still developing the tracker, but they claim it has a one-month battery life and will track any movements, day or night. That data can be used to improve the training regime or to notice if a horse is sick or injured. “Through the sensors, we get information about the movements of the horse. And once you have tracked the horse for a while you will know what is normal,” says Strobel. “And then you can notice if the horse has something like colic. The horse gets restless, apathetic, moves more frequently. You can notice this change in the way that the horse moves and then you know that something unusual is happening.” Katja Schnabel is a horse trainer and a coach for riders, based in the village of Steinhoefel near Berlin. She has 25 horses on her farm and keeping track of them all is sometimes difficult. She says it would be helpful to have high-tech fitness trackers, that way she’ll be able to see how they develop and respond to training. “Mostly it would really be good for the training, for my training, for the horse’s training,” she says. “To see if the horse has more power or the power is increasing. The horse can’t tell you these things so it would be good to be able to check.” The fitness app for horses will be released to the public after the summer and the tracker device next year. The company has not announced a price for the tracker.

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