Equestrian Sports Revolutionized by the HorseDay App’s Gait Analysis

Ásta Björk Friðjónsdóttir
min read
Equestrian Sports Revolutionized by the HorseDay App’s Gait Analysis.

Equestrian Sports Revolutionized by the HorseDay App’s Gait Analysis

The Icelandic start-up HorseDay launched it's first product last spring with a smartphone application available on App Store and Google Play. Aimed at riders, owners, trainers as well as breeders of Icelandic horses, HorseDay is connected to the worldwide central database for Icelandic horses, WorldFengur. The app allows users to record training sessions, log any information about the horse's health, care, and shoeing and share that information, with a team built around the horse, in a digitised "whiteboard overview" and activity feed. In the past week, HorseDay announced another development in the application: the revolutionary and long-awaited Gait Analysis, which records all five gaits of the Icelandic horse.

HorseDay is the first app in the world of equestrian sports specifically designed for the Icelandic horse and its community. The development of a gait analysis that recognises each of the Icelandic horse's five gaits is a novelty in the world of equestrian sports. To support that HorseDay employee Haraldur Bjarni Davíðsson and one of the founders, Marta Rut Ólafsdóttir, wrote a research paper along with Hafsteinn Einarsson from University of Iceland and Torben Reese, founder of TöltSense. The paper Efficient Development of Gait Classification Models for Five-Gaited Horses Based on Mobile Phone Sensors has been published in the journal of Animals.

Five Gaits Analysed with over 90% Accuracy

Whereas most other horse breeds are known to have three natural gaits - walk, trot and canter - the Icelandic horse qualifies as a gaited horse breed having, in addition to the common three, two additional gaits - tölt and flying pace. Not only do these additional gaits make the breed unusual and interesting, moreover, they challenge the rider to train and ride the horse in five, rather than three, gaits. The uniqueness of the breed and the challenge of the gaits presented the ideal challenge to develop a type of application that could not only record the speed, distance, and duration of the ride, but also recognize and log each of the five gaits.

With the development of the gait analysis, HorseDay has solved a significant challenge by which riders of Icelandic horses assess performance which will significantly benefit training of horses. Using smartphone sensors that record the data during the ride and matching it with a research-based gait model, HorseDay provides an over 90% accurate gait analysis. For this to work, the rider must carry the phone in a jacket or pants pocket during the ride and allow the app to use the GPS signal while analysing the data from the training session. The learning gait model machine was developed through device-based research in which four wearable sensors were attached to the limbs of different horses to develop, in combination with the data from the smartphone sensors, an accurate gait model.

The gait analysis is of great benefit to the community of Icelandic horse owners across the world and riders in terms of training and rehabilitation aspects. The detailed insight into the horse's training sessions and activities can provide information on how the horse and its gaits are developing in relation to the training methods used. In addition, the app features an interesting social element that allows users to share the development of their horses inside and outside HorseDay on other platforms.