When we arrived to watch the exercising of the horses stabled at Keenland in the days leading up to Breeders Cup 2022, we are struck immediately by the great facility, but it’s clear the buzz that’s in the air in advance of the Big Race later in the week. The care & attention that goes into looking after these horses in the days, and indeed months, leading up to a race meeting of this magnitude is phenomenal.
Several horses present have travelled from overseas, our home country of Ireland is very well represented with 10 horses this year, and a higher number again from the UK. Long journeys do however pose a risk for the horses’ health, wellbeing & can ultimately impact performance. It is a massive logistical and organisational challenge to bring so many international horses to the US. Significant time is spent getting to the airport, loading horses onto the aircraft, then flying for a long number of hours before being unloaded and then boxed to the track, where they will send their first few days in US in quarantine. The grooms have to ensure that the horses stay settled during their journey, and that they keep hydrated and eat their meals, keeping to their normal routine as much as possible.
The challenges posed by a change in environment are not to be underestimated, acclimatising to a change in temperature, a different time zone, altered routine, as well as the hustle & bustle of a very busy racetrack every morning. Their exercise and track work must also then go smoothly, the horses all have to pass their pre-race veterinary checks, and then hopefully be ready to perform at the peak or their abilities in a matter of days post arrival.
At Equimetrics, our V-PRO solution enables remote monitoring a horse’s vital signs – heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, sweat & movement – before, during and after the journey, providing a real-time understanding of how the horse is coping with the stress of travel and the changes to their environment. Has their heart rate variability remained consistent throughout the journey? Or have they spiked a temperature at any point en-route? V-Pro provides the vet, and trainer with greater insights to measure, monitor and manage every horse’s journey from start to finish.
We are excited to continue on our mission to improve the welfare, wellbeing & ultimately, the lives of horses globally, as we begin our journey to bring Equimetrics products to the world.