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The Tech Equestrian

Welcome to the new normal. Technology is everywhere and effects everyone and everything.  To keep up with the changes and information that impacts the equestrian world, I hope you will enjoy the stories, profiles and insights that this blog will feature. In addition, stay connected on social by joining my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages!

STABLEGUARD: The AI Enabled Equine Safety Solution

STABLEGUARD: The AI Enabled Equine Safety Solution

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The Tech Equestrian recently caught up with Alexa Anthony, CEO of Magic AI Corporation and parent company to StableGuard™ to find out more about how their monitoring and alert digital system is transforming horse safety.

Early Days and Dreams
Alexa Anthony grew up in Seattle riding horses under the guidance and influence of her mother, Cara, a successful horse trainer and professional and alongside her older sister Carly Anthony, an accomplished show jumper. Anthony had a dream of going to the Olympics and would train in Europe in the summer while she attended the University of South Carolina as a student athlete in the NCAA riding program. However with horses, as we know, comes risk and during her senior year Anthony suffered a severe back injury. This setback was a wake up call for her and, “the harsh reality was that I needed to pursue another career,” said Anthony.

After college, Anthony landed a job at Bellevue, Washington based Intellectual Ventures, a private equity firm specializing in high tech incubation. “This was a great opportunity to get a feel for the start up culture and process,” she explained. It was also when she met her friend and now colleague, Jacob Sullivan, whose background as an entrepreneur and engineer would be a perfect fit for their future company.

A Sad Ending that Led to a New Beginning
“Our company is incorporated under the name of Magic AI Corp. and specializes in collecting and analyzing data on animals through computer-vision based machine learning,” Anthony said. Unfortunately, a tragedy that could have been prevented led to the idea and name for the company. “My horse, Magic, was everything to me, my partner in all aspects of my life,” she shared. One Christmas night, Anthony went to the stable at 6pm for night check and by 8am the next morning Magic was already toxic with colic. “Having a device to notify me of his situation would have likely saved his life,” she pointed out. Anthony started doing research and discovered that colic is the number one cause of death in horses, aside from old age. Armed with this knowledge and the help of Jacob (who is now CTO) they came up with the idea for StableGuard, Magic AI Corp’s first product. 

 The StableGuard app features live video, permission and privacy settings and more.

The StableGuard app features live video, permission and privacy settings and more.


What is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is a field of computer science that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to "learn" with data, without being explicitly programmed. Wikipedia


Intelligent Behavior-based Video Monitoring
StableGuard uses proprietary technology video recordings 24/7 to capture all of the activity that takes place in a stall. The user can keep an eye on the horse through a live stream video. If there are any anomalies in a horse’s behavior, you will receive an alert via mobile app. The beauty of machine learning is that over time the software can detect patterns and adjust accordingly based on your individual horses movements. “With the power of data, our solution can keep you informed to help with early detection of not only emergency issues, but also health issues,” Anthony continued, “That is part of our roadmap which is to expand from loss prevention to performance improvement.” The health and wellness monitoring is beneficial on detecting slight changes in your horses’ eating, resting, and overall behaviors giving you time to assess and act.

 The StableGuard system provides 24/7 surveillance of your horse via live streaming video.

The StableGuard system provides 24/7 surveillance of your horse via live streaming video.

Target Buyers
“We typically sell to private stable owners and trainers, veterinarian clinics, quarantine facilities, and major horse show facilities,” explained Anthony. She is proud to report that in less than 2 years, StableGuard is now protecting hundreds of horses. The system is installed for private stables that have 10 or more horses. “We have customers in the United States and Canada and will eventually expand to Europe as we determine the best solution for adhering to the security and privacy laws,” said Anthony.

There is another similar product on the market called StallWatch, however, as Anthony pointed out, “they provide live stream only, they don’t yet offer equine software with tracking and alerts like we do. It is also a portable system, for those who want to take it to shows.” 

Future Thoughts and Collaboration
As a standard question in all of my interviews, I ask ‘where do you think the horse world will be in 5 years as it relates to technology adoption?’ and Anthony replied, “I’m excited to see the up-and-coming riders embracing the benefits of technology. As long as what is offered to equestrians doesn’t get too gimmicky then I believe the opportunities and adoption levels will be high in 5 years.” 

 From left (Steven Bluman, CEO Equo, Nicole Lakin, CEO BarnManager, Alexa Anthony, CEO StableGuard, Alicia Heiniger, CEO Jumpfax)

From left (Steven Bluman, CEO Equo, Nicole Lakin, CEO BarnManager, Alexa Anthony, CEO StableGuard, Alicia Heiniger, CEO Jumpfax)

Anthony and her company are already in partnership with other equine technology providers including BarnManager, Equo and JUMPFAX and have called it the ‘Stronger Together Equine Technology Collaboration.’ I am proud to be part of the collaboration working alongside young, innovative, passionate entrepreneurs who want to lead the way for technology development in the equine industry. Our goal is to provide horse owners and riders with the tools they need to simplify their daily routines of horse care, management, and showing. We are excited to continue to support the growth and expansion of high-tech companies in the equine industry.” 

The Journey Continues
As the tech collaboration helps expand mindshare and brand exposure with equestrians, StableGuard also incorporates a mix of social media and sponsorships. “We provided cameras at the recent Thunderbird Horse Show in British Columbia, Canada as an ‘in kind sponsorship’ in exchange for branding and promotion throughout the event,” cited Anthony. A majority of the marketing is done through social media along with ads and digital ads placed with well-established horse publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse.

“One of our goals is to have our system installed at competition facilities, so users can log-in to the app while on the road,” said Anthony, and “in terms of next steps we are looking to expand our product offerings by not just focusing on safety, but on horse health features specifically.” She also mentioned that horses are just the start and they are researching alternatives for the AI tool they created. “This is a new beginning of an incredible journey as data from watching horses and humans can lead to better ways of living.” 

Website
Facebook: @stableguard
Instagram: stableguard
Twitter: @StableGuardEQ

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