Years ago, there was no way to keep track of things like your horse’s progress or your heart rate without the occasional photo, the yelling of an instructor, or a specialized medical heart rate monitor with a chest strap. And you could forget about learning about horses online!
But these days, there are apps for almost everything. From improving your riding skills to checking on your foaling mare, you can do almost everything with the help of your mobile. In fact, there are so many mobile apps on the market you could basically have an entirely separate phone only for horses!
These are the apps no self-respecting horseback rider should ever be without.
Exercise, Monitoring and Learning Apps for Equestrians
Apps for equestrians who want to track their progress and review rides have come a long way over the years. Nowadays, there are apps for almost everything. You can monitor your own heart rate, determine how long you’ve been in the saddle and how far you went, figure out whether your horse is spending enough time in each gait, and access educational apps with schooling tips, videos, and other resources.
Basically, you can have a tiny instructor in your pocket at all times. Or close enough, anyway. Here are our top picks for monitoring your rides, improving your skills, and tracking your progress in the saddle.
Equilab is one of the most popular equestrian apps out there, and it’s easy to see why. It’s available on Google Play and Apple, and can be used directly on the app by riding with your phone on you, or by linking it up to your smartwatch.
Equilab allows you to record and analyze a variety of information about your trail rides and schooling sessions. It tracks your horse’s every move on the map, including when and where you were riding in walk, trot, or canter and even the intensity within the gaits.
Equilab tracks your rides and gives you awesome details like your horse’s speed, intensity, and rhythm. It automatically tracks which gait you’re in, how much time you spend on each rein, your elevation, and how many calories you and your horse have burned. Because it uses GPS instead of cell coverage, you’re less likely to lose coverage even if you’re riding in remote places.
If you subscribe to the Premium version, you can export your training data. You also get access to the safety features that alert people should you fall off your horse or need help.
Ridely is an app which allows you to track your rides and add notes, almost like a training journal. While there’s plenty of value in keeping track of your schooling sessions by writing down notes and bullet points, one area where Ridely really excels is in the content library. It features advice and experiences from top professionals like Charlotte Dujardin, William Fox-Pitt, Laura Kraut, and more with loads of educational videos explaining everything you could imagine: how improve your circles, mastering show nerves, plaiting like a pro, improving straightness, jumping exercises, riding ditches, and more.
To get the most out of Ridely, you’ll have to pay a subscription fee of $79 billed annually, which equates to under $7 per month. It’s one of the more expensive apps on the market, but could be worthwhile if you don’t have regular access to instructors or just really want to absorb as much knowledge as you can between rides.
- Your smartwatch app
If you have an Apple watch, a Garmin, FitBit, or other smart watch which tracks your exercise, then adding its app to your phone is a logical second step. But many of them have horseriding tracking capabilities too. If not, you can use the run or walk function. That way, you’ll get an idea of how far you rode, what your heart rate was, and so on.
The benefit of this is, of course, that you don’t need to ride with your phone in your pocket.
Most of us think of Udemy as being limited to courses you’d use in educational settings or in the workplace. But it actually has a huge amount of courses, including plenty of horse and equestrian related ones. There are loads of courses available on the app to further your knowledge in the saddle, as well as out of the saddle.
You could pick from things like barefoot trimming to natural horsemanship to riding tips. And everything in between! Some of the courses are free, and the others range in price from $20 to $300.
Admittedly, Pivo does require the purchase of a Pivo Pod, which you can pick up at about $100 with sales and coupon codes. But this “robot cameraman” is one of the coolest apps out there. Your phone connects to the pod via Bluetooth, and you can then film your rides with their innovative “horse tracking” mode.
It allows you to set your phone to zoom in and out, auto adjust for lighting, and predict where your horse is going to go so you get uninterrupted footage of yourself riding without needing to drag someone to the barn to film you each time. You can even use it to do virtual riding lessons with your coach.
Riding Health and Safety Apps
Hopefully, there never comes a time when you need to use an app because something has gone wrong. But riding is a dangerous sport, and we’re often at the barn in all sorts of weather and at crazy times. If a mare is foaling, a horse has colic, or there’s a storm happening but your horse is out in the field, a trip to the barn is often unavoidable.
You know that the Premium subscription to Equilab has some safety features, but if you don’t have that, there are alternatives. These apps should be kept on your phone in case of emergency.
Imagine you fell off on a trail ride in the woods or out in acres and acres of fields and had to tell emergency services or family members where to find you. Not only is it almost impossible to find markers that would be of help to third parties, but you might be disoriented too.
WhatThreeWords solves that problem. What3words has split the entire world into a grid. That grid is made up of loads and loads of 3×3 meter squares. Each square has its own unique address made up of three randomly assigned words. Your location could be goat.cupboard.bag or plug.narrow.decide
Really, it could be any combination of words at all. But those three words will pinpoint your location to within 3 meters. So if you fell off (or lost a horse, broke down with your trailer etc) you could tell someone the three words and they’d be able to look up your exact location on the website or app. The locations are as accurate as GPS coordinates, but much easier to communicate.
It’s already in regular use in the UK, but can be used anywhere in the world and is available in 40 languages.
HorseRider SOS is really useful for peace of mind, especially if you often ride alone. You simply keep the phone on you, press “go” when you start riding, and then forget it.
If you stop moving for a predetermined amount of time, like if you’re unconscious or unable to move, the app moves into alert mode (which you can override manually to avoid false alarms) and will automatically alert your emergency contacts with your exact GPS whereabouts.
Horse and Stable Management Apps
Farrier, worming, blanketing, vet checks, vaccinations, clipping, feed changes: horse ownership requires you to juggle all kinds of professionals. Plus have encylopedia-level knowledge of everything equestrian. And that doesn’t even cover the logistics of what happens if a horse gets sick or injured.
To help you manage the day to day elements of riding and horse management, these apps can be real lifesavers.
Nightwatch certainly isn’t for those who are looking to save cash. But if you can afford it, it’s an excellent example of innovation in the wearable tech space. Nightwatch is a halter and app combo which costs a one-time fee of $1000.
For that, you get a leather halter which monitors your horse’s vital signs like movement, heart rate, position, respiration, temperature and more. You can set up alerts to ping you if something goes amiss. What would it be most useful for? Horses who are illness-prone, sick or in recovery, as well as pregnant mares nearing their foaling dates. You can, of course, use the halter on different horses as needed.
As the name suggests, BarnManager helps barn owners (and boarders) stay on the same page as to all of the admin which comes with running a barn. Through calendar syncing and scheduling tools, everyone will know when the dentist or farrier is due or who needs their flu shot. The record-keeping feature means you can digitize things like dressage tests, notes, passports, written vet reports, and more.
All of these apps can make your equestrian life easier and safer. Some might even help take your riding to the next level! Download them to your phone, and let us know if we’ve missed your favourite horsey app off the list by leaving a comment below.