Saturday
October 2, 2021
Trusted Business Journalism
EquiTrace aims to eliminate mistakes in the treatment of race horses by tracking the animals and their health records
Jennifer Corley has spent a long time in the equine industry, so she knows as well as anyone the problems that it faces.
Now the Scottish native, a specialist equine surgeon, has brought her expertise to bear with new software which aims to eliminate human error from the tracking, tracing and treatment of race horses.
EquiTrace was founded by Corley along with her husband Kevin, an equine medical specialist, and Paul Hayton, an engineer with a background in software development.
The Enterprise Ireland-backed company has developed an app that identifies horses and stores their records, replacing the traditional pen-and-paper method of retaining information and giving vets the data they need to administer the right treatment to the right horse.
Based in Co Kildare, EquiTrace has just raised €1.25 million in a funding round and plans to strengthen its commercial team with a view to growing globally.
Corley said the app created by EquiTrace has the potential to both improve the treatment of horses and help the reputation of an industry often questioned over recent years.
“Race horses are athletes. They get injured and they get sick, just like human athletes do,” Corley said. “They need treatment by veterinarians, who are not cheating – they’re trying to do the best they can for the animals. But getting the right data is actually really hard.”
EquiTrace claims to simplify the process of identifying horses and storing their medical records using just a microchip scanner and a phone, “two things that everyone would have kicking around”, Corley said.
Trainers or vets can simply scan a horse’s microchip to access their medical records as well as a history of where the animal has travelled. EquiTrace’s technology will also tell them what medication a horse needs on a particular day, thus cutting out mistakes when it comes to their treatment.
The app, which uses Bluetooth, can also be used as a digital passport for race horses, which travel more than any other creature on the planet besides humans. It tracks their location and can be used to store data on their temperature.
In an industry where horses’ information is often stored manually, an easy-to-use digitised system is “critical” for vets and trainers, Corley said.
“We wanted to give them an app where they could just have all the information they need at the touch of a button. You can’t have a laptop in a barn, so bringing technology in was always difficult. And the industry has a staff shortage, and you’ve got horses coming and going, so you can see how problems occur tracking the right horse.”
Corley said EquiTrace’s technology was “quite simple – identity, GPS, health records and communication.” But she added: “Those four core features can be combined to solve a lot of problems in the horse world today.”
The company has backing from Merck Animal Health, part of the global pharmaceutical companies with nearly $50 billion in revenues, and now has more than 19,000 horses registered on its app.
Corley said EquiTrace can also eliminate cases of mistaken doping by helping vets avoid administering the wrong drug at the wrong time due to a lack of information.
“We’ve come up with a solution that helps the people on the ground – those looking after the horses – to eliminate those types of mistakes. We’ve made it really simple to cut out human error from the process,” she said.
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