Sunday, May 3, 2009

iPhone Applications for the Sport Horse Industry

A few weeks ago, our favorite social media news blog, Mashable, wrote about Five Great iPhone Apps for Pet Owners. It was a fun post and we started to wonder what kind of apps are out there to support equine enthusiasts and sport horse professionals. Equine-oriented apps, it turns out, are a quickly growing segment of new applications for the iPhone or iPod Touch. In this feature post, we’ll discuss a few of the currently offered applications, a few that are coming soon, and put out some ideas for apps that we think would be useful for the sport horse community.

iPhone Applications for the Sport Horse Industry   iPhone Applications for the Sport Horse Industry

Currently Available Applications

EquiApps.com
The first apps we found were from a Canadian company called Equiapps.com. Equiapps.com currently offers three applications – EquiCalc, a digital calculation of horse body weight; EquiTempo, a digital metronome for dressage training; and EquiList, a digital checklist of to-do items for shows and events. We chose to purchase EquiCalc ($.99 through the iTunes App Store), as we have been harboring a weight estimate for our VERY LARGE  4 y.o. gelding Fitch, but thought it would be interesting to see what the EquiCalc formula came up with. For supplements and medications, we always assume he’s 1300 pounds.

iPhone Applications for the Sport Horse Industry   fitch girth

Out at the barn, we measured Fitch’s heartgirth and body length (the same way you measure for a blanket) and selected “Horse,” as opposed to “Weanling” or “Yearling,” on the EquiCalc screen. (“Behemoth” is not an available choice.) At 80″ x 69″, EquiCalc estimated Fitch’s weight at 1380. While pleased that the calculation was so similar to our horseman’s estimate, we were disappointed that the app does not have a way to save measurements for a single horse or for multiple horses.

We was also curious about EquiTempo ($1.99),with it’s walk, trot and canter metronome settings that are adjustable in tempo. While we didn’t give this one a try, the reviews for EquiTempo in the App Store are overall positive, with one rider questioning whether the digital metronome sound might be mistaken by some horses as a cluck. This could obviously be avoided by wearing ear buds, but we’re aware that the use of headphones while riding is a contentious subject.

iPhone Applications for the Sport Horse Industry

We also didn’t try EquiList but the App Store reviews are fairly positive. The main suggestions from users are designations for discipline-specific lists and a process for saving custom list items.

With three applications currently available, EquiApps.com seems to be the segment leader in creating sport horse oriented apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It will be interesting to see what they come up with next…hopefully they’ll take a look at our list of ideas below!

Upcoming Applications

EquestrianApps.com
Another company, EquestrianApps.com, offers two apps – TrailLogger and Dressage Tests. The Dressage Tests app was previously released on iTunes, but has been taken down to reversion and address reported bugs and errors. The upcoming release, currently awaiting Apple’s approval, will also add Level 3 and Level 4 tests to the application. We think this could be a very useful application so stay tuned…I’ll keep you posted on its release.

HorseGirlTV
Another upcoming iPhone App release is HorseGirlTV, a popular online series focusing on news and education for the equine industry.  The HorseGirlTv app will deliver the website’s content, including its popular “webisode” videos, to a user’s iPhone and iPod Touch. For you fans of HorseGirlTV and its host Angelea, we’ll put out an update when the HorseGirlTV app is available for download.

More Ideas for Apps

None of the equine iPhone apps currently available or in development addressed the things that we think would be really useful to have in a portable application:

USEF Rule Book Application
Does anyone get the 3 ring binder version of the rule book anymore??? Both USEF and USDF have done a great job of making their rule books available online, but wouldn’t a rule book iPhone app be a great, portable resource for trainers, stewards, horse show managers, and judges?

Health Care Management Application
Whether it’s one or more personal horses or, for trainers, managing herd health, keeping track of vaccinations and worming, supplements, and medications is time consuming and unwieldy. Could an iPhone app keep track of worming and vaccination calendars, medication dates and dosages, and even feed charts?

Show and Event Calendars Applications
Again, breed and discipline organizations could provide an iPhone app that calendars major events, deadlines, etc.

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have other ideas for equine oriented iPhone applications? Leave a commment here to let Dappled Grey know.

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