In this edition of ‘A Few of My Favorite Things’ I talk about all the apps that make my life as an equestrian easier.
I’m an iPhone person and a lot of my life is facilitated by my phone. There are hundreds of thousands of apps out there, and it’s an intimidating task to wade through all of them. While I haven’t tried them all, here are some of the apps I’ve discovered that make it easier to keep up with Charlie Brown’s needs, on top of my job and family. Some of them are free, while others have a one-time purchase cost, or a subscription fee.
Heels Down Magazine — A monthly guide to the latest equestrian fashion trends, riding how-tos, and informative articles presented using videos, pop-ups, photo galleries, sound, animation and interactive features. Candidly, it’s better on the iPad, but it’s great on the iPhone.
Practical Horseman, Equus, Dressage Today, and Chronicle of the Horse — These magazines, which are my “go to” sources, are available on their own respective apps. It makes for great reading when I have a few minutes of down time. Again, they’re better on the iPad, but the iPhone works great too.
CourseWalk — This app includes cross country course maps and videos for specific venues, as well as dressage tests. It’s incredibly useful to look at various courses, including the exact fences. Then I’m in a better position to make sure it’s a fair test for me and Charlie. Plus, I can see what the next level will require of us, so I’ll better know when we’re ready to move up.
Coursera — This app provide access to courses on a variety of topics. The only equine class available is a free course titled The Horse Course: Introduction to Basic Care and Management, from the University of Florida. For a first time horse owner, or for a horse husband who wants to learn more, it is a great resource.
SmartPak — I don’t always have the time to run to the local saddlery and sometimes I need something before I will have time to get there. From the SmartPak app, I can shop for products and have them shipped to my home, my office, or my barn. If there are changes needed to Charlie’s SmartPak supplements, I can do that from the app as well. So my conversation with my barn manager gets implemented into the next shipment of Charlie’s SmartPaks.
SmartBlanket — During the colder months, when you’re not sure what weight of blanket is needed, this app is a lifesaver! You enter your location and whether your horse is inside or outside (it takes the temperature differential of a closed barn into account), then the app tells you what weight blanket is needed for your weather forecast.
RoadID — Originally, this app was created for runners, but I use it when I go out on trail, especially when I go alone. When you start the program it sends a text or e-mail to the people you have chosen, telling them you are headed off on a ride. While you’re out your contacts can get a map tracing of your route to check your progress. If you don’t move in five minutes, it asks you if you’re alright. If you don’t respond, RoadID will send an alert to your contacts, telling them that you are in distress. It’s a great way to be safe when you ride alone — safety first!
EQStable — This app helps me keep track of Charlie’s feeding specifics, turnout schedule, farrier visits, dental floatings, and vet checks. For example, he is on a 5-6 week farrier schedule, so when the farrier visits, I enter the date he came. Then I set a reminder for the farrier to return in 5 weeks, with one week’s notice. A week before my next desired farrier visit, I get a notice from the app, so I can check with my farrier and give him adequate lead time to put us on his list.
Currently EQStable is only available for iPhones.
Horse Side Vet Guide — This app contains a wealth of information. It has a section which tells about various supplies and how they are used. Another section gives “how to” instructions for specific skills. There are also descriptions of vet treatments, diagnoses, and diagnostics. If your horse is exhibiting symptoms or behaviors, you can try to match your observations to the potential issue and course of action.
EquiTempo — If you’re working on keeping the tempo of your horse’s gaits even, stop trying to keep track of it in your head. EquiTempo will allow you to figure out the beats per minute, or BPM, of any gait. Then you can play the app on the desired speed with the phone in your pocket while you ride, and EquiTempo ticks like a metronome.
EquiTempo is currently only available in the iTunes App Store.
Coach My Video (CMV) — CMV allows you to upload photos and videos, walk through them frame by frame, and annotate them with lines to check your alignment. If you have a long-distance friend or coach to share them with, photos and videos, with their mark-ups, can be sent via e-mail.
Currently only available for iPhones.
TheDigitalHorse — Sadly, this isn’t an app, but a website. It requires a paid subscription, but it provides both the standard USEF format, as well as a downloadable pdf version with more detailed diagrams for each movement that I find very helpful.
GMail and Google Calendar — Charlie Brown has his own GMail address. It sounds a little crazy for a horse to have his own e-mail, but it allows me to keep all of my e-mail traffic related to Charlie separated from the massive volume of personal and professional e-mail I have to deal with.
The Google Calendar allows me to keep a complete calendar of both dressage shows and events. My trainers create calendars for both types of competitions, and they share that calendar with me, which I download to Charlie Brown’s calendar. Now there’s a complete list of show opportunities in one place. Then, I put the shows we choose to participate in on my own calendar so I don’t accidentally double book us.
What apps help make your life in the saddle and around the barn a little easier?