Saturday, December 1, 2018

Joining Club Equisense

I wanted an Equisense the first time I saw one.  Data?  On my horse?  Over time?  GIMME.  GIMME NOW.

I'm a data scientist as my career field, I'm a bit passionate about this sort of thing.

When I saw that 50 Equisense were going out at 50% off for Black Friday, I stayed up until 2am to snag one.  It was 8am in France.  I managed to snag one and it arrived on Monday.  Can't say enough about the fast shipping and excellent packaging.  Super sharp customer service and a really well done marketing email strategy.  But that's just me being a digital marketing nerd.

I also got to brush up on my French because some of my emails showed up in French.

I downloaded the app, charged my Equisense, and got it connected to my phone with no trouble.  It took me about five minutes to get the app set up with my account and get the sensor connected.  The sensor velcroed on to my girth with no trouble.  Since I only need to charge it about once a month, it will live on my girth and get charged in the barn office when needed.

I was very cautious about getting excited for my first session.  I've found these types of devices to be a bit tricky/moody in the past.  My Fitbit can be troublesome at times, for example.  But it really was super easy.  I opened up the app, hit record, and stuffed my phone in my pocket.  At the end of my ride, I hit stop.  That was it.  When I was done, I got this:

Oh, blessed data.  How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Starting from the top, woohoo all green on symmetry!  With Theo's unevenness behind, I was delighted to get a 7.6.  Having his hocks done and really working on that symmetry has been paying off.  We've got a lot of work to do, but it's not a disaster and he doesn't have a hind in red so I'll take it.

We were specifically working his walk to start so the long section of walk makes sense.  We have to change his warm up about twice a month to keep him from finding new and creative ways to evade doing actual work.  Right now, lots of transitions within the walk and getting him into his working frame while still walking.  We were also focused on the way he was stuck in his neck to the left, so a lot more time in that direction.  He did stretch and there was a huge pop out of his neck during a break, so whatever was stuck, it seems to have worked itself out.  Dressage:  Yoga for Horses.

His tempos are improving.  He used to have a 99 bpm canter and a 77 bpm trot.  I'm excited to see the cadence slowing while he's still covering the same amount of ground.  He's more relaxed and powerful.  I have no idea if the elevation is good or bad, but hopefully we'll see it trend up over time.  Our regularity?  Well, we got a 7 in the trot, that's not bad considering we were doing lateral work.  The walk got a 5, that's all on me.  I was trying to get the swinging walk from my seat, we had a lot of misfires.  That canter score?  Ouch.  We have a lot of work to do in the canter.  Which we knew.  It's good to have a metric to improve.

To be fair, we were dodging a lot of traffic and only cantered 1.5 minutes, but yeah, we have some canter work to do.

He felt freaking amazing by the end of our ride.  I was giggling and goofing off, enjoying my horse that now has self carriage and can be sensitive to the aids.  No more praying he keeps cantering during the counter canter, no more exhausted kicking as he drags himself on his shoulders, no more aching upper body as he insists I carry his head for him or acts like a giraffe.  He has passed up any other horse I've owned and has even passed up Miss Thang.  Fiona was freaking talented, but I never got here with her.  Theo is most definitely not talented, but he is very educated and willing.  This is what it feels like to ride a Second Level horse.  I can't even imagine how much fun he'll be when he gets to be a mid-level dressage horse.

I'm happy with the numbers we got and the sensor was so very easy to set up and use.  I'm really looking forward to building up his history and being able to track his performance over time.  It really took my ponynoia down a notch to see this first set of numbers.  He's not dying, he's not lame, he's fine.  We have a lot of work to do, but he's fine.  We're going in the right direction.

I will post so many charts.  Everyone will be so sick of my charts.