Category Archives: horse

Meet Digby, the UK’s first guide horse

The UK’s first guide horse has been matched with a partially sighted partner.

American miniature horse Digby will be assisting Blackburn-based Mohammed Salim Patel once he has completed his training.

Mohammed, who has a degenerative visual impairment, has a phobia of dogs and had resigned himself to never having an assistance animal.

However, Digby’s owner and trainer, Katy Smith, introduced him to the idea of a guide horse.

“I’ve always like horses and went riding as a child,” Mohammed told H&H.

“Katy approached me before Digby was born saying she was planning to train a guide horse and I snapped up the offer. I’d love to be the first person to receive a guide horse.

“Digby has a wonderful temperament, he’s up for anything and remains calm and collected.

“At the moment I’m reliant on family and friends, but Digby would alleviate that.”

It is hoped the eight-month-old colt will start his new life with Mohammed in around two years time.

Mohammed is planning to stable Digby in his garden and has a nearby equestrian centre where he can receive a larger turnout area if needed.

Katy is delighted at the bond the pair has struck up during their initial meetings.

“Digby is a little super star,” she told H&H. “I’m really pleased for Mohammed — they already seem to have a connection which is really good.

“He’s taking everything in his stride and has made loads of progress.”

Digby is undergoing a training programme, similar to that of a guide dog, and is currently at the “puppy walking” stage.

He is being familiarised with busy situations and is hoped to carry out all the tasks a guide dog would, such as helping Mohammed cross roads, get to work and visit the shops, as well as providing companionship.

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Katy and Mohammed have been in discussions with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Environment Agency to expand legislation to allow guide horses inside buildings as well as guide dogs.

Digby will wear “thunder pants” when he is working, which collect his manure in a bag for appropriate disposal.

Look out for further analysis on the future prospect of guide horses in Horse & Hound magazine

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Puncture wounds in horses: all you need to know

Hind leg injury in field

Far too often, the first sign that you horse has suffered a puncture wound is a swollen, inflamed and infected area, where a puncture has been initially overlooked. This is particularly true of horses’ legs, where infection can spread extensively, and the whole leg may swell.

Look carefully for puncture wounds in any swollen area and when checking your horse over after exercise or turnout. Many are tiny and hard to see. Clues include a trickle of blood or a sensitive spot when you run your hands over the area, which may be combined with localised swelling. If you have a pair of suitable trimmers, carefully clipping the hair away from around the area will make it easier to see what is going on.

Once you have located the injury, bear in mind that small wounds can have serious consequences. The damage caused is dependent on the depth of the wound, how dirty it is and whether any vital structures are involved. A puncture wound can be fatal if it reaches a vital organ such as the brain, chest, abdomen or the inside of the foot.

Many first aid manuals warn you to look out for so-called ‘joint fluid’, an oily, clear to yellow substance, and that if you see this discharging from a wound, a joint could be involved. In reality, a wound is often far too messy to spot this, and many innocent superficial wounds discharge clear or yellow serum, which can appear similar.

Assess the wound to see if it is near a joint or other critical structure, such as the digital tendon sheath behind the pastern. Remember that some joints, such as the elbow, are very large. An injury that seems some distance away from the bending part of the joint may still communicate with it. Equally, infection can spread towards it.

In all cases a vet should be called to assess a puncture wound, or a suspected puncture wound, as it is often more serious that it initially appears and the sooner it receives expert attention, the more likely the horse will be able to make a rapid recovery.

Treatment for puncture wounds in horses

  • Clip the coat and carefully clean around a puncture wound using saline and cotton wool. Do not spray the wound directly with water, or apply any chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide. This could force contamination deeper, making potential infection worse
  • Apply a clean bandage and use a hydrogel on the wound. Your vet may recommend you apply a poultice to draw out any debris
  • Ensure your horse has been vaccinated against tetanus. These wounds provide the ideal environment for the bacteria that cause tetanus to flourish. All horses and ponies should be routinely vaccinated, but if you horse is not protected, they will need to be vaccinated when a wound is discovered

Potential risks of puncture wounds in horses

  • A foreign body could be stuck inside the wound, so ask yourself what could have caused the puncture. Be careful about introducing further infection by probing into the wound – leave this to your vet
  • Is it really a puncture? Two puncture points close together could be a snake bite, while a hole draining pus may be a burst abscess
  • Consider whether your horse is more lame than one would expect for the size of the wound and let the vet know when you speak to them.

If you found this useful, you might also be interested in:

Keep up to date with the latest veterinary advice and news in the Vet Clinic pages in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday, or join H&H VIP to read these expert vet articles online.

H& 16 Sept 2003

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New boss for British equestrianism

nick fellows

Nick Fellows has been appointed as the new chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

He will take over from interim chief executive Nicki Kavanagh and interim chief operating officer David Ingle on 26 March.

Clare Salmon, the last permanent chief executive, resigned in July 2017, following a year in the role.

Nick is currently the chief executive of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) and has previously worked with British Shooting and the British Olympic Association.

He is a former head of the Olympic Medical Institute and interim director for Bucks and Milton Keynes County Sports Partnership.

He has also worked as a manager for Newsquest Media Group and as a director of National Sports Medicine Institute.

Nick is currently a director of British Shooting and sits on the board of the English Target Shooting Federation.

Nick said he is “hugely honoured” to take on the position and “can’t wait to get started”.

“The BEF, along with its member bodies, has a great track record of winning medals at major events, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and [Britain] is rightly regarded as one of the leading equestrian nations,” he said.

“My experience of working with the World Class programme team at the Olympic Medical Institute has given me some insight into the sport and the various facets it embraces.

“I am looking forward to meeting and understanding the objectives of the wide range of member bodies and the key people throughout the BEF, both staff and athletes, who together deliver the successful outcomes.

“My experience at British Shooting, a similar organisation in many respects, will help me to appreciate the role of the BEF in relation to member bodies.

“[For example] how we may work to best effect to add value, whilst my current role at the CPSA is within a body that’s very similar to many of the BEF’s members.”

Article continues below…

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Ed Warner, BEF interim chair, said he is delighted to confirm Nick as the new chief executive.

“His leadership and management experience in both public and private sectors, and work with multi-disciplinary teams across performance and grassroots sport, will further strengthen our organisation as it builds for the future,” he added.

“I would like to thank Nicki and David for supporting the BEF so professionally and enthusiastically since August 2017.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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What is retirement livery and would it suit me and my horse?

Library image

If your horse is approaching his or her later years or has suffered a career-ending injury, you’ll find you have to make some hard choices. They can’t be ridden anymore, and the hustle and bustle of a busy livery yard may become too stressful for a horse who might have complex medical needs, or struggles to get along in a herd of younger horses. If, like most owners, you don’t have a field out the back of your house where you can peacefully retire your best friend, one option that is growing in popularity is retirement livery.

Oonagh Meyer, head of approvals at the British Horse Society (BHS) says: “These are generally full livery yards, which cater specifically for elderly or retired horses. It can be an expensive option depending upon how the horses are managed.

“Make sure you research and visit any establishment before placing your horse in their care. It can be daunting trusting your horse with someone, and although there are plenty of retirement livery yards around, it is important to know that the standards of care are as high as you expect. That is why the BHS runs its livery yard approval scheme, providing reassurance to horse owners.”

Retirement livery can be cheaper than full livery, depending on where in the country you live, while it’s typically more expensive than DIY due to the care levels provided. Prices average from £40 to £65 per week. The yard typically provides full care, but not facilities humans want like arenas, tack rooms, and warm lounges.

At most retirement livery yards, the horses are turned out in a herd, which is usually quieter and more stable than herds with horses coming and going. Nicky van Dijk, who runs Happy Horse Retirement Home in Brecon, Wales, explains: “The horses are back to nature; back to the herding instinct. They do everything together. A lot come from competition yards where horses are coming and going, but they can relax here because every horse is doing the same thing.”

Horses at Nicky’s yard are out 24/7 in summer and stabled at night in the winter.

She goes on to explain: “When owners bring horses, they ask, can I get my horse in and groom it? I prefer them not too because it causes the other horses to gallop back and forth.”

That’s probably the biggest different between normal full livery and retirement livery: you completely hand over the care of your horse. You can visit the horse, but you might not be allowed to take it out of the field and do what you like with it. Nicky observes: “Choosing retirement livery is an unselfish decision. They’re doing it for the horse.”

Many of the owners live far away. Nicky says she has horses from Dubai, France, and Spain, as well as all over the UK. Cheryl Bray, the owner of a retirement yard in Gloucester, has an owner from the United States

“She may be able to visit in a few years,” Cheryl explains. “She has a pony that’s been a recurrent laminitis sufferer for 10 years. She was going to have him put to sleep to secure a pain free/worry-free future, but then she learned about our place through a friend.”

Because you might live nowhere near the yard, make sure it is trustworthy, providing excellent care. Cheryl tells H&H: “Best advice I can give is to visit the yard, get references and make sure you can visit unannounced.” She adds: “I’ve actually never had a livery owner turn up unannounced, but it is written into the contracts that they can if they want to.”

With geriatric horses and absentee owners, it goes without saying that the yard owner deals with a lot of medical issues and will ultimately be the one who makes the call as to when is the right time to put the horse to sleep. Owners need to be comfortable with that.

Nicky says: “[The yard owner] needs a lot of medical knowledge, like a human care home. We can tell when it’s time to let them go – we know the horses so well. We discuss it with the owner, but it’s our decision as the owner doesn’t see the horse. They are put down here and cremated.”

It seems like a difficult choice, sending your horse to a yard potentially hundreds of miles away and completely entrusting it’s care to someone else. But if it’s a good, conscientious retirement yard, it could be the best thing that happened to your horse.

Rowena Kennedy lives near Glasgow and her ISH gelding, Ollie, sustained a suspensory injury that meant he wasn’t able to do his previous level of work and he wasn’t suitable as a horse that hacks out now and then. The winter turnout at her yard in Scotland was hard on him.

Rowena says: “He got sore as soon as it froze. I chose the place in Devon as I’d been following it on [Facebook] for a couple years… I knew the ground would suit him, they turn them out in herds that suit the horse, boys and girls are separate, and the weather down there is better.”

It wasn’t an easy choice. Rowena reflects: “At first I found it really hard, I was used to him being at the yard. It took me years to decide to send him, but it was the best decision I made. He’s loving it down there.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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Rider urges others to buy cameras after road incident

A rider whose horse was allegedly hit by a car while she was hacking out with a group from a rescue centre has urged others to use cameras while riding on the road.

Ellie Cogger, a volunteer at Free Rein Horse Rescue, captured footage of the incident in Sussex last Friday (26 January) and police have since confirmed they have served the motorist with a notice of intended prosecution.

Ellie was hacking 11-year-old ex-racehorse Apollo along with a group of four other riders at about 11.30am when she says a driver approached them from behind on a busy stretch of road.

The congested route is one Ellie usually avoids.

“All our horses are bombproof on the roads, however due to poor accessibility to our usual roads because of muddy fields, we had to take the main A265. This is something we hate doing but there is no other way in which we can exercise our horses as we don’t have a school at our yard, so we have no choice but to ride along a short stretch of the main road to get to a quieter area,” Ellie said.

“We are aware that the A265 is a busy road so we trotted round to the high street in an attempt to avoid aggravating any drivers. As we turned the second to last bend, a driver decided that he would try and squeeze past us. However, there were cars parked on the opposite side of the road and oncoming traffic.

“We all slowed our horses due to the volume of traffic in that specific area and I gestured to the driver that he needed to stay back as there was not adequate room for him.”

But Ellie claims the driver ignored her request and was seen to “shake his head”. She alleges he then drove forward into Apollo’s legs in order to push him out of the way.

Ellie claims many of the drivers coming in the opposite direction stopped after seeing the incident

She said Apollo was a “bit tender” after the incident but had no obvious bruising or swelling. The thoroughbred, who won on the track, arrived at the rescue centre following a serious tendon injury.

“I fell head over heels for him when he arrived, he is one of the gentlest horses,” said Ellie. “He works with us in our mission to rehabilitate and rehome horses as he provides comfort for a lot of less-confident horses and our youngsters.

“He was great on the roads beforehand, which was fortunate, but it has knocked his confidence a bit. I’ve only taken him out once since and that was in-hand,” she said. “I was beyond shaken up that it happened to him.”

Ellie added that all the riders were insured and were wearing high-vis at the time and there was nothing they could have done differently.

She said she would urge other road uses to invest in cameras.

“I initially bought a GoPro adapter for my iPhone to record our rides but it proved more than useful in this instance. I would encourage more riders to make this move. Just as I would encourage other road users to install dash cams.

“All road users need to be more considerate of each other.”


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A spokesman for Sussex Police confirmed there had been a number of witnesses to the incident in which a horse appeared to have been nudged by a vehicle.

He said that the driver had been served with a notice of intended prosecution.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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Fernie hunt follower dies in ‘tragic accident’

The hunt: Tanatside
The story: “A very atmospheric sunrise looking across the stubble towards the Breidden Hill on the Shropshire/Powys border. It was taken through the ears of my horse Jack on the Tanatside’s first morning out in September” — Laura Hughes

A rider has died in a “tragic accident” while he was out hunting with the Fernie.

The 54-year-old man passed away after a fall from his horse, on land off Mowsely Road, Saddington, on Wednesday this week (31 January).

A statement released for and on behalf of the Fernie read: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a gentleman died following a fall from his horse in a tragic accident whilst following the Fernie hounds on Wednesday.

“Our sincere condolences are with his family and friends at such a difficult time for them, and we ask that everyone respects their privacy as they overcome such a devastating and early loss.”

The statement said a coroner’s investigation is under way, and that another statement is to be released “in due course”.

It added: “In the mean time, both the hunt and the gentleman’s family would like to extend their immense thanks to the emergency services and others who were present at the accident for all their assistance at the time.”

A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “Police were called to a field just off Mowsley Road, Saddington, at 2.15pm on 31 January, after a man had fallen from a horse and was taken ill.

“The ambulance service attended the incident and the man was pronounced deceased at the scene. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.

“Identification of the deceased will be a matter for the coroner.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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Pippa Funnell jumps tiny pony and 8 other great pieces of horsey social media this week

Enjoy some of our favourite updates from equestrian social media channels during the past week. From some daredevil deer to one of the world’s greatest eventers jumping an 11.2hh pony, it all happened on social media this week.

Apatchy logo highest res may 1Don’t miss the exciting competition on this weekly page. Our favourite tweet each week will win either an Apatchy mini tablet case or an Apatchy cosmetic bag, personalised with your own initials. For more information about the competition and to find out who this week’s winner is, go to the bottom of this page.

Equestrian social media posts of the week

That was close!

This looks dreamy

Like sitting on a trampoline 😁 #Uthopia #superstarboy

A post shared by Carl Hester MBE (@carlhestermbe) on Jan 18, 2018 at 7:15am PST

Is it a horse or an aeroplane?

This chap got into the Burns Night spirit

Pippa Funnell on a tiny pony

Say cheese!


This is too true!

Georgie Spence

This is amazing!!!

And congratulations to this week’s Social Media Post of the Week winner

Look! no hands! (And they went on to win too)

If you like this, why not follow @horseandhound on twitter today?

Tweet of the week competition

Personalised Mini Tablet CaseThe winner of the Horse & Hound tweet of the week competition can also be found by searching Twitter for #HHTweetOfTheWeek. The winner will receive an Apatchy mini tablet case (pictured left) or an Apatchy cosmetic bag (pictured below right), personalised with their initials.

Apatchy are designers and makers of bespoke lifestyle gifts. Their ranges include wash, cosmetic, Cosmetic bag apatchytravel and sports bags, which can be instantly personalised or customised without the need for sewing, gluing or ironing. To find out more about Apatchy’s unique personalised products and their wonderful gift wrapping service, visit

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Event Rider Masters expands into Belgium but loses two British venues

gemma tattersall on quicklook V 1st ERM at chatsworth 14-5-17

The Event Rider Masters (ERM) is back for 2018 and the £350,000 competition series has expanded to Belgium.

This year there will be six legs, in which the world’s leading event riders and horses will compete in a shortened television-friendly CIC3* format.

The 2018 series will not feature legs at Blenheim or Gatcombe, but will be introduced to Concours Complet d’Arville in Belguim.

Britain’s Gemma Tattersall was the 2017 ERM champion with wins at Chatsworth and Gatcombe Park.

“I enjoyed the pressure of the 2017 series and cannot wait to set my season around the 2018 series with my team of horses,” she said.

“The new event at Arville will be a challenge and the even mix between UK and Europe will definitely increase the international competition within the series. I cannot wait!”

ERM legs will run at the following events:

  • Chatsworth International Horse Trials, Derbyshire, 12 – 13 May
  • Internationales Wiesbadener Pfingstturnier, Germany, 18 – 19 May
  • Concours Complet d’Arville, Belguim, 23 – 24 June
  • Barbury Castle International Horse Trials, Wiltshire, 7 – 8 July
  • Haras de Jardy Eventing Show, France, 14 – 15 July
  • Series finale at Blair Castle International Horse Trials, Perthshire, 25 – 26August

Coverage will include live competition data and footage available via Facebook Live and YouTube.

It is also available to view free by anyone in the world at

ERM’s sponsor SAP is working alongside the team to develop more audience engagement technologies as the year progresses.

“The 2018 series marks an exciting progression for ERM,” said ERM chief executive Chris Stone.

“Not only are we building on the eventing showcase the series has developed, but we are planning to introduce even more technology with SAP to push the boundaries of our sport’s presentation.

“The expansion into mainland Europe with the addition of Arville embraces the truly global nature of eventing and will definitely make the competition more intense. It is a privilege to introduce ERM to the Belgian eventing audience.”

Mr Stone said ERM will provide eventing fans a way of seeing star riders prepare for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless volunteers, officials, owners, fans, grooms, athletes, venues and the ERM team who make the series possible,” he said.

“2018 is going to be a very exciting year and we cannot wait for the series to begin at Chatsworth.”

Continued below…

Arville event organiser Barbara de Liedekerke said her team was “thrilled” to become a part of the series and host the first Belgian ERM leg.

“Eventing in Belgium is a growing sport and we are excited to bring this great series together with ERM to the Belgian fans,” she said.

Henrike Paetz of SAP added that the innovations it is creating with ERM are an “exciting way to bring fans and media closer to the sport”.

To find out more about the 2018 series, and why it won’t be held at Blenheim or Gatcombe this year, in this week’s H&H magazine, out today (Thursday, 2 February, 2018)

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Popular grey steeplechaser Smad Place retired due to injury

Smad Place ridden by Wayne Hutchinson wins The 188Bet Monets Garden Old Roan Ltd Handicap Steeple Chase at Aintree Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 29, 2017. See PA story RACING Aintree. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

The popular grey steeplechaser Smad Place, who triumphed in the 2015 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, has been retired at the age of 11.

The French-bred son of Smadoun has picked up a suspensory ligament injury prompting his trainer Alan King and owners Trish and Peter Andrew to call time on his brilliant career. He will return to his owners for his retirement.

The gelding captured the heart of many a racing fan thanks to his bold jumping and front-running enthusiasm. His success on the racecourse saw him amass winnings of just under of £500,000.

He won the 2015 Hennessy by an impressive 12 lengths and contested the Cheltenham Festival every year between 2011 until 2017 — finishing third in the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2012 and also in 2013, before taking the runner-up spot in the RSA Chase the following year.

“Smad Place has damaged his right-fore suspensory ligament and, while it is not too serious, this was always going to be his last season and with it being enough to stop we have decided to call it a day. It could have been worse — it could have happened earlier in his career,” said Alan, who is based at Barbury Castle in Wiltshire.

“Barbury won’t be the same without him. This year will be the first time that he hasn’t gone to Cheltenham for eight years.”

The trainer added: “He has been a wonderful horse for us and there are so many magnificent memories. The Hennessy has to be top of the pile. It’s one of the iconic races of the season and run at our local course — to win it was very exciting.”

Smad Place came over from France as a three-year-old in 2010 and joined Alan’s yard. He won three times over hurdles before establishing himself as a high-class chaser.

He had three attempts at the Gold Cup, with his best result coming in 2016 when he finished sixth.

His most recent victory came in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October under his regular jockey Wayne Hutchinson — he was also ridden by “Choc” Thornton in the early days before the jockey’s retirement.

Wayne paid tribute to the special grey gelding on social media, tweeting: “Happy retirement to my mate Smad. You had a great innings and did everyone associated with you very proud.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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7 pieces of genius wearable tech you (and your horse) will want in your life

More and more of us are counting our steps, tracking our sleeping patterns, measuring our heart rate and recording our workouts than ever before. But what about your horse, and his vital statistics? There are now more ways than ever to keep close tabs on your horse’s health, happiness, fitness and performance with these innovative pieces of equine wearable technology

1. The ‘FitBit’ for horses

The water-resistant, shockproof Estride tracker (below) node slots into a fetlock boot, available in either easy-care neoprene or smarter leather. Data collected from the horse’s leg movement is transmitted to a remote controller, which stores the information for you to access via an app on your smartphone or computer.

Estride is particularly useful for gait and stride analysis — you can monitor the consistency of your horse’s stride pattern to help you spot any irregularities, or keep track of progress following injury or lameness. The device also measures your horse’s calorie burn and jumping efforts, with easy-to-compare data.

The cost: From £299

2. The one to help with rugging dilemmas

Designed to tackle the problem of over-rugging, Arioneo’s Orscana is a connected sensor that attached underneath rugs to detect horses’ activity, temperature and sweat levels, warning you via an app if your horse is deemed to be out of his comfort zone. It also links to weather forecast data.

It’s been used successfully by several international riders.

“The information Orscana provided showed that I was using more rugs than necessary and our rug regime has completely changed as a result,” says Phill Snow, groom to international showjumper Jess Mendoza.

The cost: £87

3. The 24-hour equine monitor

The waterproof Trackener Life device can be placed either in a lycra bib when your horse is stabled, or in the field, or into a girth strap for use while riding. Using motion sensors and GPS, it measures activity, sleep and stress levels based on the horse’s movements while resting, and can also track your training sessions, showing you how much time you have spent in each gait and on each rein.

The more advanced Trackener Life HR version also measures your horse’s heart rate with a sensor strap placed under a saddle pad, helping you keep tabs on his fitness levels.

The cost: From £299 (currently available to order with 30% off)

4. The handy training tool

The Seaver connected girth sleeve measures your horse’s heart rate, recovery time and calories burned. As well as giving insights into your horse’s health and fitness it’s a valuable training tool, measuring speed, distance covered, number of strides, left/right lead and jumping height and effort, with the option to replay your jumping courses on the app.

It has been tested by showjumper Roger-Yves Bost and eventer Thomas Carlile, and is available as just the sleeve — which comes in a variety of sizes and fits any style of girth — or with a hand-made girth, in four different styles.

The cost: €329 (£289) for the sleeve, €549 (£482) for the girth

5. The all-round yard management system

Horsepal is a new horse monitoring system from Horseware — a winner in the BETA Innovation Awards 2018 — uses a temperature and humidity sensor that sits underneath a rug, and sends detailed data about your horse’s well-being to your phone via Bluetooth when you are within range of the device. You can add extra users to the app, such as a yard manager, groom or family member, as well as multiple horses, and the app can also be used as an all-round stable management database to track visits from the vet and farrier, and record horses’ weight, worming and vaccination schedule and general health.

The sensor holds up to three days of data, and has a battery life of 1-2 years, with replacement batteries available.

The cost: £40

6. The livestream for busy trainers

Handy for owners and trainers, and proving particularly useful in racing, the EquinITY app allows you to livestream your horse’s speed, heart rate, stride and split interval timings while he is working from anywhere in the world, with the ability to monitor multiple horses at once. The monitor is integrated into a girth sleeve with single-button operation, and provides heart rate averages and maximums as well as recovery time. The data can be transmitted to the rider via a Bluetooth-enabled headset, and can also be analysed and replayed in detail.

The cost: £1,050

7. The one that learns your horse’s habits

The re-chargeable Nightwatch headcollar contains multiple sensors to monitor your horse’s vital signs and behaviours, alerting you via text, phone call and/or email whenever signs of distress, such as colic, injury or being cast, are detected. It records heart and respiratory rate, activity levels, motion and posture, and connects to your phone remotely via cellular and wi-fi networks so you can keep track of his well-being anywhere, any time, and with a score calculated on a 10-point Equine Distress Index (EDI) to help you differentiate between stress and distress.

The adaptive sensors also grow to learn your horse’s behavioural patterns, picking up and alerting you to changes.

Nightwatch is available as a leather headcollar or a small safety collar, that fits just behind the poll.

The cost: From $699 (£497)

For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday

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