The sport of horseback riding goes back at least a couple of centuries
, and it might seem that everything that could be invented for horse owners is already in existence. After all, horses have been around for thousands of years, and they have not changed much in all that time. Horse training techniques and equipment have also remained largely static - the bits on the market today may be bigger and fancier, but the technology behind them is largely the same as the ones manufactured a hundred years ago.
The fact that horseback riding is such a staid and timeless enterprise makes new IoT-enabled devices like the NightWatch halter all the more surprising. Even so, it seems that the Internet of Things is moving beyond the smartwatch on our wrists and invaded the world of animals.
For those who have never had the pleasure (and expense) of owning a horse, just know that these thousand pound creatures are surprisingly delicate, and great at hurting themselves. From running through fences to breaking into feed stores, horses are often their own worst enemies.
That is where the NightWatch halter comes in. Simply put, this device is designed to monitor the vital signs of the horse wearing it - checking information like heart rate, respiration and position. By monitoring these signals the NightWatch halter is able to keep tabs on the horse's well-being and alert worried owners if anything seems out of the ordinary.
Even better, the NightWatch halter uses smart technology to learn the normal habits of the horse in question. The ability to learn and adjust its alert system should make the device more useful while keeping false alarms to a minimum.
When the NightWatch halter does sense a problem, it can send an alert to a predetermined equine caretaker - or more than one. These alerts can be made by text message, email or web alert, and the warnings continue until they are acknowledged by the individual who receives them. This can provide horse owners with an early warning of potentially fatal problems and give stable owners extra time to apply first aid and contact the veterinarian.
Only time will tell how successful the NightWatch halter will be, or how responsive ordinary horse owners will be to its technology. The NightWatch halter is now available for pre-order, but it is far from cheap starting at $499, and that price point could make it a tough sell for the ordinary horse owner. Even so, one could easily see this technology being used to protect million dollar racehorses and equestrian athletes in the elite world of hunter/jumper and dressage, where price tags can easily stretch to six and even well into the seven digit figures.
By now it is clear that the Internet of Things is starting to reach into every aspect of our lives. From keeping tabs on our homes while we are away to finding our lost dogs when they stray from home, there is nothing the IoT cannot touch. Now IoT is even reaching into the pasture and stable, giving horse owners added peace of mind and protecting their equine companions.