If you haven’t heard of Hyloft yet, let me tell you you’re missing out! It’s an incredible piece of technology that lets you, as they say in their slogan, “KNOW YOUR RIDE.”
Hylofit is a data collection tool attached to the horse’s girth that wirelessly transmits heart rate data to an app on the rider’s phone.
Knowing the resting heart rate of your horse can also help identify an injury or illness earlier and the more one trains with heart rate, the better they can understand the workload exertion versus stress and pain. The line between over and under training can be razor thin. Knowing when to push, when to hold back, and when to rest can be critical to building fitness, maximizing performance, and preventing injury.
Hylofit also tracks your heart rate as you ride. This allows you to track your own exertion as well as see how synched you and your horse’s fitness levels are. Perhaps you thought you were working yourself to death and the data suggest you were… but your horse wasn’t. The best way to become two hearts working together is to get those hearts fit and in sync so that you can truly ride as one.
Why heart rate? Heart rate acts as the “voice” of the horse, providing critical information for a quicker understanding of what is actually going on (intense workload, stress, pain), which leads to a more effective response by you, the human. Using Hylofit to monitor equine heart rate can help eliminate some of the guesswork that comes with conditioning the horse, monitoring and moderating exertion, etc. For example, if a horse’s heart rate is above normal one day, perhaps you should check the horse’s vital signs. Perhaps they are ill. Perhaps the weather is too hot. Or perhaps there’s an injury afoot—does the heart rate rise when tracking left, but remains normal tracking right? This is undeniably valuable information.
Here’s a Q&A on this eq tech:
How Does it Work?
The Hylofit System is comprised of four hardware components, an app for iOS and Android, and an app for the Apple Watch.
At its core, Hylofit is a heart rate monitor for the horse and rider. The girth attachment is a slim device that rests underneath the girth on the left side of the horse. There are two electrodes on the girth attachment and a transmitter that snaps in (there are three additional retention straps to accommodate girth variations). The electrodes measure the horse’s heart rate and the transmitter sends the heart rate information to the rider’s phone via a Bluetooth connection.
Hylofit’s unique features include real-time feedback and post-ride insights for both athletes, as well as resting heart rate calculations, zone training, social sharing, video overlay, calendaring, and more.
Is Hylofit For Any Level and Discipline?
Whether you are an athlete with Olympic aspirations or an amateur trying to fit in a weekend ride, there are benefits of incorporating heart rate monitoring into your training regimen.
The Hylofit’s girth attachment was designed to fit most girths and Hylofit has been used across a multitude of disciplines. On their YouTube channel you can see Hylofit being used for dressage, jumping, eventing, driving, natural horsemanship, versatile riding competitions, fox hunting, and more. Many people even use Hylofit when they’re lunging their horses, placing the girth attachment under a surcingle or belly band to keep it in place.
Is Hylofit Good For Trainers?
Hylofit makes it easy for trainers to manage all the horses in their program, as well as their riders’ progress. With a unique ride sharing feature, riders can share rides with their trainer, and vice versa, to help provide an overall picture of health and well-being.
Hylofit also offers a great way to track a horse and rider’s training and fitness if a trainer is away, or vice versa, if the owner is a way and the trainer is riding. This provides the absent person a clear picture of what the horse did that day, which is great for peace of mind. It’s also a great option for keeping track of fitness or training rides if multiple riders ride and train the same horse. For lesson or collegiate programs, Hylofit offers additional ways to monitor the health and fitness of these horses.
Is There Scientific Data to Support Using Hylofit?
Hylofit was closely-developed with an equine cardiologist to ensure our electrodes were in the optimal place for capturing the equine heart rate. The makers also worked closely with Dr. Tim Worden (PhD, Biomechanics) who has written several educational articles on the benefits of technology like Hylofit, in equestrian training. They are currently working with several research scientists to develop more data around the specific benefits of Hylofit.
Which leads to what’s next for Hylofit…
Hylofit makers are listening to their users to build out their platform with more features. To date, they’ve added customizable alerts to notify riders of time in the saddle or when they reach a certain training zone or distance. They’ve also added a color-coded map showing zone intensity at given points during the ride.
Coming soon features includes the ability to track speed in meters per minute, more ride alert features, and improved user experience for Western riders. Additionally, they are looking to develop an Android watch app so Android users can utilize real-time feedback without having to look at their phones during their ride.