Revolutionizing Equestrian Sport: A Dashboard for Horses?

June 24, 2019 | by Madeline Boast, BBRM Equine Management student

Veterinarian, entrepreneur, author and avid dressage rider Menke Steenbergen is taking equestrian sport by storm! When most people think about riding horses, very few relate it to technology. But technology could have a significant role in improving how we work with our horses.

Menke IPOS head shotSteenbergen, founder and CEO of IPOS Technology, is the inventor of the IPOS rein signals. The rein signal technology is the first of its kind and provides riders with quantified data of their interaction with the horse when riding. This revolutionary technology uses tension sensors adapted from airline freight loading technology between the bit and reins that give feedback through a phone app to make the information readily available to the rider or the coach in real time. Awareness of tension placed on individual reins can alert the rider to imbalances in contact. The rider can then make adjustments to the contact to improve communication and performance.

Steenbergen observed that performance with her equine partner was significantly output-related; she thought that to become a better rider, her input needed to be changed. Steenbergen decided to start with the communication between horse and rider as this is completely under the rider’s control. In developing this technology Steenbergen had initial difficulty illustrating data patterns. It wasn’t until her partnership with Dutch Olympic dressage rider, Imke Schellekens-Bartels that the patterns in the data became clear. In an interview by Dispatches Europe Steenbergen said; “What we do is analyze patterns of movement.” This movement analysis, over time, provides a historical record of a horse’s exercise regime, and is sensitive enough to detect subtle changes that may be indicative of injury. Thus the feedback can provide the rider with immediate information on rein contact and performance, and can also be compared to itself over time to quantify healing of injuries.

IPOS Rein Sensor CJSteenbergen has been recognized for her work with this revolutionary technology. She was nominated for the Young Professional of the Year Award in 2011. In 2016, IPOS was awarded a Sport Innovator Award from the Dutch Ministry of Sports for innovation in the horse industry. In the same year, IPOS was a Winner at High Tech XL and later won the Dutch Sports Innovation Award in 2017. Most recently IPOS won the Game Changer in Sport award.

Steenbergen will be on hand at the 15th annual Equitation Science conference being held in Guelph, ON from August 19-21. Her live horse demonstration will show how the IPOS technology gathers information on rein tension, gaits, and rhythm, and with this information the rider or coach can develop a training plan for improved endurance, strength, speed and suppleness.

 

Don’t miss this demonstration along with an engaging lineup of high calibre presentations. Registration is now open for the 15th annual ISES conference. For all the details and links to registration and accommodations, visit the Equitation Science website or the Horse Portal.

 

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