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The Science & Technology

StrideSAFE was created specifically to address the serious problem of catastrophic injury in racehorses.

 

It is known and widely published that in 85% of catastrophic injury cases, necropsies had shown the presence of pre-existing pathology. There had been a slow but relentless deterioration of bone health taking place over several weeks or possibly even months which eventually so weakened the bone that eventually it gave way.

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The challenge was to detect the early stages of this pathology and so intervene to save the horse’s life.

 

Traditional levels of care had failed in this regard. Every horse which has suffered a fatal injury has been examined by a veterinarian the day it ran. There are no easily visible external signs and the horse is sound at the trot.

 

StrideSAFE reasoned that it was necessary to collect data from the horse itself when it was running at high speed during a race. Only then would the forces be so great as to trigger discomfort in the bones and therefore changes in the horses biomechanics.

 

StrideSAFE sensors can measure and record the forces in all three directions, that is dorso-ventral i.e. up and down, longitudinal i.e. forwards and backwards, and medio-lateral i.e. side to side. And with the recent addition of a magnetometer, new measurements refine results further utilizing pitch and yaw.  As a result, the sensors collect data 1100 times every second!

 

Each horse has a unique way of moving, at StrideSAFE we liken it to a “fingerprint”. It is when this style changes that we know something is bothering the horse.

 

The changes which occur take place over as little as 1/100th of a second, easy for a sensor to pick up and measure but impossible for humans to recognize. StrideSAFE has available a database of over 70,000 individual horse files (as of May/2024), adding an additional 3,000 files/month, and so its veterinarians and engineers have been able to create models which predict injury, unsoundness, and the risk of fatal injury. The results are first presented in a numeric category format (similar to hurricane-strength models) and are provided confidentially to the trainer and those concerned with the horse’s welfare. At a deeper level all the data is displayed graphically for the veterinary team to review. StrideSAFE’s own veterinarians are also available for consultation should that be necessary in complex cases.

 

This is but the beginning. The engineering and computer science components are complete and software for automation in place. If necessary results can be available just minutes after a race. StrideSAFE veterinarians have worked in equine biomechanics for over 25 years and the models of risk are clear and consistent. Over time, the data will accumulate at a rapid pace so that before too long Artificial Intelligence methodologies will be employed to further improve the predictability of the models.

 

The stage is set for many of the catastrophic injury cases to disappear from our sport.

Going Deeper

New York State Equine Medical Director Dr. Scott Palmer presents a comprehensive/scientific look at StrideSAFE sensor technology, and more importantly, why it is a necessary addition to every race track in America.  

2023: StrideMASTER co-founder and owner David Hawke presents the system to the General Assembly of the European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation in Warsaw, Poland. The audience was made up of the heads of all the European racing jurisdictions.

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