Brand Spotlight: Equestic
A bit about the inventor, Leon Rutten
Leon grew up on a small dressage stable in the south of The Netherlands. His dad was a professional dressage rider and his parents had a small trade and training stable of about 10-15 horses. He started riding before he can remember and started doing shows when he was six years old. Leon’s dad was heavily involved in several equestrian schools and always had several trainees working. Not only did his brother, sister as well as himself have a lot of riding lessons, they also had to learn all the theory about equine biomechanics and training physiology.
Leon always intended to have his own career in horses, but in show jumping, not in Dressage. He worked for a big show jumping yard for just over a year before realising that he ran “out of talent” when the jumps got too big, i.e. higher than 1.45 metres. And that’s high!
Instead he studied software engineering but always rode, making the switch to eventing in the 1990s.
How long has Equestic been going?
In August 2015, Leon’s wife decided to switch from running to doing triathlons. Ugh! So, suddenly there was a lot of electronic gadgets and training devices in their house. And he only had a heart-rate monitor and a paper notebook for his horses, so he got a bit jealous! He couldn’t find any equine wearables anywhere. So being an engineer, he decided to see if he could develop something himself. He just started “duck-taping” all kinds of sensors to his horses to see what he could measure. At first the goal was to just have a digital log of workload per gait and rein. But within a month he’d discovered he could do loads more like rhythm and symmetry. That's when he decided to go all in! He drew up a business plan, found investors and funding. This all came to fruition early in 2016 when development truly got going and launched in early August 2017.
Whereabouts you’re based?
The team is based in the south-east of The Netherlands, in Nijmegen, one of the most active equestrian regions with dozens of international stables within half an hour’s drive of where we are.
Who is on the Equestic team?
That kind of depends who you include. In total there's 11 people working full time for Equestic who are specialists in sales, marketing and tech. Plus there’s also four riders on the team.
In the Netherlands Equestic has been identified as a high profile, high potential business which is one of the key reasons why they’ve benefited from significant financial investment from the local government. This investment provides long term stability and the due diligence process that they had to go through to get this money, has ensured a solid foundation on which to build the business.
What countries has the SaddleClip has been launched in and when?
Originally launched in the Netherlands in August 2017, followed by Belgium in November of the same year. The team are now set to scale it internationally with Germany and the UK the first two countries with Japan in April. In parallel the team are preparing for launch in Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Portugal. If this isn’t enough, they also hope to launch in US and Canada just before the World Equestrian Games 2018.
So, what else will the SaddleClip be able to do in the future?
Loads, is the answer! They want it to include GPS - Global Positioning System – and to integrate it with a heart rate monitor. As soon as enough training data has been collected, they want to introduce bench marking. They’re looking into combining video with our data as well.