HORSE POWER: Powering the Next Generation of Horsemanship
Having a vision and making a change are two very different ends of the spectrum. The Tech Equestrian had the opportunity to interview two innovative women who are bringing their vision to reality with a new horse app for the equestrian community. Helen Schwab, Founder and Chief Strategist, and Co-Founder and Creative Director, Jillian Dudziak, of Horse Power are looking to help performance equestrians make smarter decisions through equine sport technology as it relates to health, training and performance for their equine athletes.
“It’s all about modernizing horse sport by embracing and adopting technology.”
“We love the fact that more technology is being introduced for the equestrian industry,” said Schwab. “By integrating with other technologies, including wearables, the app will become even more valuable for equestrians.” This is part of their roadmap but they aren’t putting the cart before the horse, no pun intended, because they are taking the time to create a quality product with many value-driven features and an easy to use interface.
“She’s the Wozniak to my Jobs”
Schwab used this reference to describe how she and Dudziak compliment each other like the Apple dream team of Steve Wozniak (the tech expert) and Steve Jobs (the visionary). Schwab has been a systems engineer and information security specialist for the Department of Defense (Air Force) for sixteen years. She also has been riding since she was a young girl growing up in Alaska and Hawaii and now Oregon with a unique resume of dressage, polo and barrel racing. The turning point and impetus for the app came when she purchased Buddha, an American Warmblood when he was 7 to start eventing. “I did the due diligence of a PPE, inquiring about his history, getting any health records, etc., but not much was available. I purchased him on faith.” Shortly after he came up lame and a battery of tests and treatments followed to no avail. “I needed more data and insight on his history and I couldn’t find any products out there that could help me, including tracking his treatments to help form an assessment, see trends and efficacy.”
“We’ve known each other for a long time, and after hearing what Helen went through with Buddha, I was hooked on trying to help solve the problem,” said Dudziak. Her background is in user experience (UX) design, creative direction and branding. With over fifteen years of design experience, Dudziak also worked in the defense industry at Lockheed Martin and has taught design courses at the college level. “Being a part of this company allows me to follow my passion of creating something that fosters positive change,” she added.
“We are creating an app that will be fun to use!”
The app is geared toward the performance equestrian – a hybrid of amateur and professional. It can be used for any discipline, but initially they will target the English rider, specifically dressage and eventing. “The app will provide a holistic picture of your horse’s health, performance and care,” said Schwab. “It is also designed to empower the owner.” As a single source of information, the owner will have access to a dynamic logbook that will track training, feed management, medical history, overall performance and more. The UX will have an emphasis on team collaboration, because we know there is no such thing as a self-made equestrian; we only reach our goals with the help of others in this sport. Team features will include secure access, permissions (full admin rights vs. read only), tagging, notifications and sharing with fellow team members for seamless communication and insights. “The underlying factor is the user experience, it has to be easy and fun to use,” said Dudziak. Beta testing will aid in this process and as Gold Medal sponsors at this year’s Land Rover Kentucky 3-Day event, they connected with many fellow equestrians and gained valuable feedback.
“It’s good horsemanship.”
Schwab answers when asked about why a tech equestrian can’t live without this app. “I firmly believe in attention to detail when it comes to proper horsemanship, and it’s at the heart of what we are creating,” she added. Her philosophy drives the product development and underscores the reality of horsemanship. “Ultimately, our horses suffer if we don’t pay attention to details and share critical information.” Sharing information securely is also a focus for Schwab and Dudziak as Horse Power is built to HIPAA compliant standards, along with creating a safe and secure site to exchange information for authorized team members.
The official launch date is still being determined but Schwab and Dudziak are looking to spend time in the field with beta testing and interviewing their target audience. Stay tuned for more updates on The Tech Equestrian and on the Horse Power website as they look to empower equestrians, horse welfare, and performance.
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photo: @chappycappy (Instagram) of Coco Fath riding Huckleberry at Longines Masters of New York, April 28, 2018.