Reliably Measuring Time in Gait

Setting up the optimal training program for your horse requires knowledge of the intensity of a training session. For anyone riding without heart-rate monitoring equipment, the time spent in each gait, plus the number of transitions, can be a good alternative for estimating or calculating the intensity of training.

If you keep track of your training efforts over three weeks, you can make some assessment of the fitness level of your horse and compare this with what other riders are doing. Perhaps, in the future, this can give us an idea about the optimal training program for our horses.

It all starts with riders keeping track of the time spent per gait. This is the foundation of any training program. To make this as easy as possible, Ipos Technology’s Training App has an algorithm that can detect the gait, in which you are riding. Simply put your smartphone on your horse and that’s it. The app will keep track of your training program for you.

As we believe in science at Ipos Technology, we wanted to test (validate) our algorithm, before releasing it. We wanted to make sure that if the App detects the gait of trot, you were indeed really trotting. A second question we wanted to look into is where can the smartphone be placed for it to detect the gaits correctly. Can you it be placed in your pocket? Even if you are in rising trot? What if you are lunging the horse? Can you just keep it under a girth, and if so, will it then still detect what the horse is doing?

It was time to put the App to the test. Our Intern, Anke Maas, measured five horses ranging from 148 cm (14.2 hands) – 180 cm (17.3 hands) in height. All the horses performed a standardized trial that consisted of all gaits executed on a straight line and on a circle in both directions. The trial was repeated three times with a smartphone located in three different positions:

1. Under the girth, while lunging.

2. In a specially designed saddle-pad.

3. In the jacket of the rider.

Testing Ipos Technology's Training Application in different positions.

The results are amazing! The application was able to detect the gait of the horse correctly 98.2% of the time. This means that when you are riding for an hour, the application may only be off by a maximum of one minute. We will continue to work further to perfect this, but for now, this is a very acceptable score and definitely can be considered as a ‘work-of-art’ by our data scientists and App Developer.

We found an even a higher reliability of 98.7% if the smartphone with the App on is located in the saddle-pad or under the girth. This is probably, because in these locations, the phone is more fixated and can detect the movements better compared to when it is located in the rider’s pocket (reliability 97.4%). The App performed equally well when riding on the straight or in a left- or right led circle.

If you would like to know more about how we have validated our Gait Detection Algorithm, or want to use the App in scientific research, you are welcome to use our scientific paper as below, as a reference:

Maas A., Steenbergen M.Y., (2019) ‘Validation of the IPOS Gait Detection Algorithm for horses under different field conditions’.

Other references that you might find interesting: