When computers first came on the scene for the average consumer in the ’90s, I had absolutely no idea what to do with one. Fast forward a few years and I was confident enough to rebuild the hard drive when the thing crashed. I LOVE computers! And I love my mobile phone. So much so that my boyfriend “teases” me about it because he feels neglected sometimes. I’m a PC and Android girl all the way, but I know there are plenty of you Apple folks out there. How much do you use your phone? Do you use it when it comes to equestrian activities?
SportyPal & Endomondo
One of the first apps I had on my phone that was useful while riding was SportyPal. It is possible to log miles, routes, and other data and it has horseback riding as one of the activity options. You can share your ride on Facebook and Twitter. It simply uses your phone GPS, so as long as you have a good signal, you’re good to go. Endomondo is another one I like, and it is very similar. Sometimes when my phone updates the app updates lag a bit. For that reason, I have both installed on my phone in case one decides not to work on any given day. Overall, I think Endomondo is the better choice.
Here is an article written in 2015 that provides a half-dozen other suggestions for trail riding apps. Among the apps the article mentioned were ViewRanger, MotionX-GPS, GPS Hiker, Gaia GPS, EasyTrails, AllTrails, MapMyHike, NeoTrek, TraceMyTrail, and Trimble Navigator.
When I spent two summers living in Estes Park, I wanted a system that was not dependent on my phone’s ability to find a tower. It can be hard enough to get cell phone coverage in downtown Estes Park, much less on a mountain somewhere. I bought a Garmin GPS unit. Ultimately, I opted for a more expensive model that provided me with the ability to tap into the park ranger’s radio frequency in case I got into trouble. I never had to use it but it gave me great peace of mind, especially when I was riding by myself.
When I developed ID MyHorse Emergency Identification Tags, I looked into including a GPS chip with the tag. It would be so simple to find a missing horse or an injured person, even if the rider was unable to contact help on a radio. The problem is battery power. The same issue occurs with dog GPS tracking systems. I had a friend with a recalcitrant dog tell me, “I’d be sure and have the battery charged if I just knew when he was going to run off!”
If you ride in the UK, you could use HorseRiderSOS. The GPS tracking ability works through your phone, which presumably is charged most of the time! It is an application that moves from “tracking mode” to “alert mode” when it determines you have come off the horse and/or are unresponsive. It sends an alert to a contact you have predefined and sends your GPS coordinates. I think that is a wonderful idea, but it is not available in the US.
Equilab & MyFitnessPal
For equestrians pursuing other disciplines besides trail riding, there is an app called Equilab. While it appears to have some value for those on the trail, it is designed for much more than that. On the Google Play site it states, “More than 250,000 riders use Equilab, in all disciplines; show jumping, dressage, eventing, Icelandic horses, western, horse racing, endurance riding, polo, academic art of riding. “
I am truly a technology junkie. I use MyFitnessPal to track my diet and sync it with my Vivosmart3 watch which tells me how many steps I have taken that day. However, I haven’t used my Vivosmart on the horse yet. It is always great fun to log a bazillion steps while you are a “passenger”. But we really aren’t just passengers, as horseback riding requires far more fitness than most people realize. When I wasn’t able to ride very much for a few years, I noticed a measurable loss of core strength, which aggravated my back. And now with a sore back, it is harder to get back on the horse, so I am trying to build my core strength back in the gym. My trainer looks like a gymnast or a Marine, she’s so dang fit.
I did manage to get both geldings in the round pen a few days ago. I was very pleased with their cooperativeness. Finn, who I expected would give me the most trouble, was awesome! And Kadeen knew exactly what I wanted but he needed to be convinced to comply.
I hope you are getting back in the saddle! What apps do you like? Do you have a fitness regimen that helps you stay strong and balanced in the saddle?