By Kathleen Berger
Corky is a rescue horse named after a champagne cork, for his champagne colored coat. His owner, Sharon Burnett, described him as strong, steady and one of a kind.
“Corky is 7 years old, he’s very inquisitive,” said Burnett. “Corky will do anything. He’s a people horse. He would go sit in your car with you and watch TV at home. Really, he would.”
Knowing Corky would try something new, Burnett volunteered Corky to be fitted with a high-tech horse bit provided by Equine Smartbits, LLC.
As the owner of a horse rescue farm, Gods Little Acre 66 in Caseyville, Illinois, Burnett dedicates her life to the health of her horses. And she allows her horses to give back to society by offering equine therapy to those in need, especially children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Because Burnett makes healthy horses her business, Equine Smartbit appealed to her mission.
The innovative horse bit has nine biosensors that measure a horse’s biometrics, measuring vital signs in real-time. The biosensors measure heart rate, temperature and blood oxygen. Traditionally, obtaining the vitals is time consuming and more invasive with risks to people who administer them.
The Equine Smartbit device is an add-on feature for traditional horse bits and is placed in the center. The system of smart sensors record measurements through the mouth.
St. Louis-based Equine Smartbits LLC co-founder and CEO, Shower Zhang, said the real-time measurements have additional benefits for owners of professional racehorses and show horses. The metrics can be used to improve training and understanding of the horse’s capabilities. Owners and trainers can see the measurements on their smart phone, tablet or computer.
Zhang said users could monitor real-time correlations of body temperature, blood oxygen level and heart rate to the horse’s movements and speeds.
The smart horse bit is intended to help professional horses and overall horse wellness.
“The second market for us is the wellness. For instance, the horse rescue farm,” Zhang explained. “It will reduce veterinarian costs.”
At Gods Little Acre 66, Corky doesn’t normally wear horse bits but he settled into the Equine Smartbit within a few minutes.
Burnett said sharing the smartbit’s recorded vitals would reduce her veterinarian’s trips to the farm and lower her bills.
“It would let us monitor things steadily,” said Burnett.
Equine Smartbits is partnering with leading horse bit manufacturers to offer the new technology in new product lines.