Who would think that a smart phone could be of any use in the daily routine of a horse person? Not me. But while researching some recent projects online, I discovered an incredible variety of smart-phone “apps” designed for the equestrian.
Some, like those that manage your horse’s vet and farrier schedules, appeared well thought out and useful. Others, however, seemed to have been designed by people with no real understanding of the horsey sect.
Like EquiClock, which promised to “wake you to a variety of horse sounds.”
This developer has clearly never known anybody who owned a horse. If he had, he would understand that no equestrian wishes to be awakened by a “horse sound.” We dread being awakened by a “horse sound.” Any sound a horse makes that is loud enough to wake you is NOT one you want to hear.
Unless, that is, you fancy waking up to selections that include “Pony Stuck Under Fence,” “Gelding Destroying Gate” or “$#@!* Stud Got In The Mare Pasture Again.”
Personally I’d rather wake up to the smell of bacon.
Then there’s HorseBudget, intended to help you keep track of your equestrian spending.
Are you kidding me? Nobody wants to know how much money they spend on their horse. We especially do not want the data in a neat little report that could fall into the hands of an unsuspecting spouse. We go to great lengths to conceal this information. It is buried so deeply that the guys from CSI couldn’t uncover it. We are not about to let a $3 app expose our fiction.
EquiVitals, designed to monitor your horse’s vital signs, perplexed me. I’m not sure how this is supposed to work. Do you scan your horse like a four-legged QR code? Perhaps you feed your phone to him and let it collect data as it passes through—in which case I hope the app includes video streaming; that would give literal meaning to the concept of a “live feed.”
While their intentions are good, I’d like to give app-builders a few thoughts on the kind of technology horse people could really use. Here are some choices I’d like to see in my “suggested apps” list:
A motion-monitoring system tracks your horse’s movements and triangulates the most likely location of the missing shoe. Purchase optional upgrade and you can also determine the most likely location of your farrier then summon the aproned crusader by projecting a giant horse shoe, Batman-signal style, into the sky.
Because honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to the cost of horses, ExcuseMinder builds a database of effective excuses to justify any horse-related purchase. Excuses are logged and date-stamped to remind you which ones were recently used and how long you must wait before using them again. Advanced “learning technology” develops new excuses based on analysis of tack store purchase receipts and (with the voice-recognition add-on) terms most commonly used during arguments with your spouse.
Pinpoints the location of your vet and tracks his progress from the moment you initiate contact. Will alert you when his or her arrival is imminent and calculate approximate service charge based on time of day and mood of the vet clinic dispatcher. While you wait, the app will analyze your heart rate and respiration and respond with suggestions for alcohol-based calming agents and directions to the nearest bar.
Emits a warning beep in plenty of time for you to stash your phone and transition to posting without stirrups before your trainer comes into view. If you need to find your trainer, just switch the app to finder mode and you’ll be able to track them down almost anywhere. Note: Tracking mode is disrupted by some materials and may not be effective if your trainer hides in the refrigerator or microwave.
Trainers, are you tired of students texting and talking when they should be paying attention to you? Use this app to send a harmless but effective burst of electricity straight through their phone and into their attention-deficit bodies.
Kids’ minds wandering during lessons? Amateurs losing focus? Give ‘em a friendly jolt to get them back on track. Much like “invisible fence” devices used in dog collars, the included perimeter function can also keep those pony riders from wandering too far from the in-gate at shows. As an added bonus, the electrical field created by YapperZapper acts as a natural fly repellent. Realistic bug-zapper sound. Safe for kids and animals. Not recommended for use at the wash rack.
Enter your show schedule and this app will alert you a week in advance of each competition, reminding you that your horse is due to develop a mysterious lameness. Rate the shows according to cost and importance to your overall goals to accurately predict the severity of the lameness.
Also charts your vet’s days off/vacation dates to warn you when you should expect your horse to have an after-hours medical emergency. With the optional amortizing add-on you can calculate 10, 15 and 30-year plans for paying off your vet bills.
Preserve harmony in your relationship! Use this clever spreadsheet app to create a fictitious account that hides equine expenditures from the prying eyes of spouses and significant others. Realistic looking expense reports allow you to seamlessly divert assets from college funds and CDs to horse show accounts, and offers creative ways of covering up tack store purchases and horse show entry fees. The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ function even allows you to hide expenditures from yourself.
Helps you maintain proper riding habits in between lessons. Records your trainer’s 10 most frequent corrections and plays them back in random order during your practice rides. The advanced speech technology creates a more realistic experience by offering seven escalating levels of frustration. Note: higher frustration settings may not be suitable for child riders.
Summons assistance in the event your rig breaks down on the road. Utilizes satellite technology to transmit a distress beacon to participating towing and repair facilities within a specified radius. Should line-of-sight to a satellite be obscured (by, say, a mountain range or the fact that your rig is stuck in the drive through at In and Out Burger), tune your vehicle’s radio to the local NPR station to transmit the distress beacon on that frequency*.
*When using NPR frequency mode, you may be required to make a monetary donation before the signal will transmit.
Okay, app developers—that list should get you started. If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.