THE PROBLEMS: OVERTRAINING
During the spring of 2015, Eliane was prepping her Grand Prix horse, Jewel’s Adelante for the summer events at Saugerties and Devon when he injured himself and was sidelined for 4 months. Bringing a horse back from injury can be a long process, and there is a very high risk that the horse, if not fully recovered, can be re-injured more severely.
In January of 2016, Eliane got the green light for Adelante to return to competition and she resumed training. But in March, Adelante re-aggravated the old injury and once more had to sit on the sidelines. Overtraining and injuries are common problems in horse training. The line between over and undertraining is razor thin and training a horse to peak performance involves managing a slippery balance between strain and recovery. Even the most experienced riders often wonder “Am I training my horse too much or not enough?”
While looking for help with Adelante’s recovery Eliane was introduced to Cees. Although vital sign metrics have long been used to monitor a horse’s overall health, Cees promotes heart rate measurement as a highly effective training tool for improving performance. He is renowned for adeptly utilizing analytics to customize training programs that measure true capacity and emphasize adequate recovery time.
THE SOLUTION: REAL-TIME DATA
Eliane and Adelante began their work with Cees, using an electronic heart monitor to record Adelante’s heart rate during training. Cees analyzed the data to establish the ‘normal’ heart rate for Adelante and, with a baseline set, subsequent heart rate data clearly highlighted how Adelante responded to the workouts. Eliane relied on Cees’ advice to make adjustments to her training routines and found that using a monitor reinforced her natural instincts with Adelante.
While excited by the new training techniques, Eliane was frustrated by the lack of real-time data. She wanted to make training adjustments from the saddle without waiting for Cees’ post-ride analysis and felt confident that an equine performance tracker with in-ride feedback had great potential in the equine community.
In the summer of 2016, Kate and Laxmi joined Eliane to determine the commercial viability of her vision and, later that fall, Hylofit became a reality. Now the team is forging ahead to develop a smarter training tool for equestrians; one that improves performance, prevents injury and thereby improves the overall well-being of horse and rider.