Thursday 4th of March 2021

ORSCANA: Is this the future of horse management?

By Ellie Kelly


The device to put your mind at rest

Whether you are a professional competitor or an amateur horse owner who wants the best for their horse, attention to detail is one of the core values in horsemanship. We all understand that the correct temperature and rugging system based on the climate is essential for our horse’s well-being.

So how do you check these things accurately? Use of a thermometer? Feel their ears or under the rug? Check the weather forecast and lose sleep over the fact at 6pm it is 15 degrees Centigrade but by 2am it will be 10 degrees less. Or perhaps your horse is prone to colic and he seemed restless when you left him that evening. It’s a dilemma as essentially we are forced to make an educated guess.

Panic over. Say hello to Orscana and goodbye to the worries of colic, restlessness, illness and simply what rug to put on.

It works like this

A small device is attached to the rug and paired to your mobile phone via an app. Then load up details about your horse (more on this later but breed, age and sex is key). Orscana will monitor and deliver temperature and humidity readings under the rug. In addition Orscana detects four distinct levels of a horse’s movement, lying down, standing calmly, active and when a horse is agitated.

The Science behind it

In recent years studies have been carried out on thermoregulation. This means the natural regulation of the horse’s body temperature. It is common practice to start rugging in the autumn until spring but often query the thickness of the rug required. There are a whole host of parameters to consider to gain an accurate picture of whether a horse is too hot or too cold and what their correct body temperature should measure. You may be surprised to hear what these include.

Breed, age and physical condition are key variants but also geographical location and management play a part – eg exposed grazing in a cold climate versus stabled in a warmer climate. The conclusion from these extensive studies was that on a daily basis, each individual and a host of external parameters need to be taken into account so looking at the weather forecast is just not sufficient. For example, two horses of different breeds living in the same place or two horses of the same breed living in different geographical areas are likely to have acutely different thermoregulation processes and requirements.

Orscana was invented because of these scientific findings. With careful analysis, a clever team of vets, researchers and developers identified the thermal comfort zone across breeds and where to place the sensor that would guarantee accurate data. Algorithms (a procedure or formula for solving a problem, based on conducting a sequence of specified actions) allow Orscana to detect temperature and the horse’s movements. The device analyses the parameters – so breed, age, sex combined with up-to-date weather forecast to help you choose the most suitable rug as well as monitoring his general wellbeing.

Impressively, over time Orscana gets to know your horse and can adapt to the physiology of each individual.

How much?

Cheaper than many rugs at just £90.

How do I get one?

From your local retailer – details of stockists available online. Or buy directly from the Arioneo website

Who is using them?

Soon maybe everyone but already plenty of well-known riders are using them. These include dressage riders Richard Davison, Dan Greenwood and Nicola Buchanan plus show jumpers Patrice Delaveau and Kevin Staut.

Words of wisdom

“This is a brilliant device. Given today’s climate and the artificial environments we subject our horse to, it’s difficult for both professionals and amateurs to select the appropriate rug for each individual horse. To monitor your horse remotely is fantastic and will undoubtedly result in healthier and more comfortable horses. It is other live data that is helpful for checking how much rest your horse is getting when you are not in the stable and we know that can be crucial for optimum performance.”

Richard Davison. Four-time Olympian and former World Class Performance Manager.


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