Smart boots for horses could help the animals avoid serious injuries

Posted at 8:33 AM, Mar 08, 2020

MORGAN — Horses are very skilled animals that can be under a lot of pressure at times, whether it's in competitions or day-to-day use, and if they aren't taken care of, serious complications can arise.

David Wadman, a rodeo competitor and the CEO of Zebra Equine Technologies says a horse's tendons are made of collagen and when that heats up, it starts to break down.

"When the horses are running around they are working up a sweat. Their bodies are getting warm, their tendons and ligaments are getting warm [...] these tendon cells are actually dying and if we wrap something around it, the boots are actually helping to harness that heat inside of the tendon," says Wadman.

This is where their new invention comes in, The Z Boot. It's a boot that provides a barrier of protection, while using tech to track the temperature of a horse's legs.

"It can not only help control that temperature by absorbing the heat out of the horse's tendons, but also with the boot's temperature sensor, it can tell us what's going on and we can be in the know," says Wadman.

The boot is made up of multiple layers. The first is a cooling pack with a Bluetooth temperature sensor that sends real-time readings to a smartphone app. The next layer is a heat shield that reflects outside heat sources, like the sun. The final layer is an impact reducing guard that lowers the force of a horse's hoof kicking it's other legs.

Shambrae Peterson, a Barrel Racer says, "Through a turn, the horses can hit their legs and most horses have shoes, so the metal can cut them, or if they hit them hard enough they can chip their bones, they can hurt their tendons, anything really."

Barrel Racing is a rodeo event where a horse and rider try to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.

Peterson says, "The extra padding and protection that the boots give is super important. Nobody likes a vet bill, so anything that's going to prevent that, I think, is beneficial for anyone."

It's important to mention that The Z Boots are not a medical device for horses, but they are tools that can be used to help riders steer their horses clear of injuries.

Wadman says, "A horse's legs are his life and if there's something that is happening that we can be aware of and that we can manage or put maintenance on, that really is our duty to give the horses the best thing because they will give us their all."

The Z Boots can be pre-ordered online and are expected to start shipping in May 2020.