Blaklion came fourth in Saturday’s Grand National and relatively uniquely had Internet of Things (IoT) technologies central to its training regime.
Why aren’t there more IoT horses may not be a question you thought you would ever be asked, but here we are.
The British horse racing industry is worth £4bn ($5bn) to the UK economy but resistant to change.
Horse trainers and owners invest heavily in both time and money, so you’d think to maximise this investment, the trainers would look to technology to get any edge.
IoT technologies are beginning to enter the market offering unique insight through condition monitoring, but so far the numbers of trainers to adopt such innovations have been in the minority.
The Sport of Kings dates back to time immemorial and the accrued knowledge is a barrier for change.
The horses which ran in the Grand National are trained using traditional techniques proven to work based on generations of knowledge.
Most of these horses’ trainers are resistant to augment their training with technology, either through fear of risk or overconfidence in historical expertise.
Fine Equinity provides a wearable training device for horses monitoring a range of conditions.
With testimonials from Brian Ellison and Nigel Twiston-Davies, two of the 40 Grand National runners had Fine Equinity’s product to enhance their training regimes.
The sim-based device, live streaming positional, speed, timing, heart rate and stride data, is suitable for all equine disciplines but of incredible value to horse racing.
It works by emulating the type of monitoring during training most human professional athletes crave to maximise their in game performance.
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Trainer’s son and top jockey Sam Twiston-Davies notes that this technology gives their team real confidence in Blaklion when the horse runs, providing assurance that the horse is at peak fitness and in optimum health.
Horse Racing is no different than any other industry with millenniums of best-practise and a prevalence of family-run businesses.
As with other similar industries, millennials are beginning to take ownership of family firms.
With their confidence in technology and desire for change, using the IoT to improve training regimes seem like a no brainer.
However, to convince their elders, success has to be proven and the tech must be robust, foolproof and easy to use.
With Blaklion placing in the Grand National, that moment might have just occurred.