Technology for equestrians and only equestrians.
My husband works in the Cyber industry and as a blogger myself, technology is a huge part of my life. I have always been somewhat technically-inclined as a result of my nerd’s brain. So when I learned of a new technology for equestrians through the immense power of social media and my equestrian blogging community, I was intrigued. I believe I first heard of Huufe on Twitter, and then happened upon an article in Horse Nation. The article intrigued me enough to become a beta user and try it on my own.
What is Huufe?
Huufe is an equestrian social media network and ride-tracking app built entirely for equestrians. Think Equestrian Facebook without the ads. The app combines ride-tracking with the ability to post updates, share pictures and video, stable management, classifieds, riding groups, and even live accident detection and notification.
It went live in the spring of 2018 with alpha and beta testing, of which I am part of the latter. The CEO and founder Charlie Trietline is no stranger to horses and is an equestrian himself. He grew up with a father who was a National Hunt trainer and then became an amateur jockey and member of the Household Cavalry in the Army.
Charlie wanted to create something special for equestrians that incorporated a marketplace, stable manager, social community, and ride tracker.
You or the Horse?
Users have the ability to create a profile for themselves. There you may post a cover photo, profile photo, and keep track of your photos, videos, and ride activities, as well as groups. That’s right, you can create and join smaller groups. I created the Gobi Desert Cup 2018 group in anticipation of using the app while in Mongolia. All Gobi Desert Cup riders were able to join in and friends and family could track their progress easily, in one spot. More, there are groups for each discipline as well as location. Additional options in your profile allow you to choose the disciplines you are interested in following or riding.
In addition, users can create a profile for each horse you own, train, or ride. Upload a photo, provide incredible details, and track your rides by each horse. In doing so you can create a training program and see your progress.
Sire of Dam:
How Ride-Tracking Works
Riders using Huufe, which is available on desktop or mobile, have the option to track their rides in three ways. Start ride (which is offline but can be posted later), LiveRide (in real time which sends notifications to your followers), and SafeRide.
Ride Tracking at its base is the ability to click “Start Ride” and track your ride offline. You will always have the option to post your activity later, with photos or without.
LiveRide shows your location in real time and alerts your followers, a specific group, or even a single follower that a ride is in progress.
SafeRide when enabled sends a notification to your chosen emergency contact if a fall is detected. More, it will send your Google Maps coordinates so they can see and choose whether to come to your location. This option is fully configurable, and you may choose whether it is enabled, the length of time your phone remains still after a fall is detected that an alarm will sound: 1-5 minutes; 10 minutes; 15 minutes; and 20 minutes. Finally, you can add multiple contacts whether a spouse, your trainer or even the barn owner.
Benefits of the App
There are so many benefits to Huufe and they are diligently working on making this as user-friendly and helpful for horse lovers as technology could possibly be.
- Ride tracking
- Stable management
- Profiles for rider and each horse.
- Interests: showjumping, eventing, dressage, rodeo, etc.
- Marketplace to buy and sell tack and other items.
- Find friends. We can invite friends to Huufe as well as find new ones that ride in our communities or just want to be social media friends.
- Provide feedback. As a beta tester, this is huge for the application. As I use the technology and think of ways it could improve, or notice a problem, I have the option to easily submit feedback that is not only taken into account, but they will actively troubleshoot.
Huufe and The Gobi Desert Cup
It seemed like a no-brainer to connect Huufe with The Gobi Desert Cup, a 480-kilometer endurance horse race over six days in Mongolia. After all, what an amazing test for the Huufe software, and a great way for the friends and family of the 2018 riders to follow their journey.
Unfortunately, this was my first trip to Mongolia and I did not expect the reality of just how far from technology we would be. With my Unitel SIM card based in Mongolia, I had slow 3G that would crack under pressure when I moved away from the windows. Functional, but not ideal.
I underestimated the Mongolian infrastructure. On occasion I could post limited photos to long-standing apps like Facebook or Instagram, but only rarely. A video one minute long took almost an hour to load. It was painful. We would drive to base camp or on course with a glaring “No Service” taunting me. When we did encounter a town 100 kilometers from anything else, I had mere minutes to post all the pending updates to the Gobi Desert Cup Facebook page.
It was disappointing, to say the least. Many times I would post photos to Huufe, or click to track our ride, yet there was not enough service in the area to support it. Finally, near the end of the journey, I was able to post text-only ride updates to our followers. I was so hoping that there would be more service available, but sadly it was not possible.
The good news is that I have a better idea of what is possible and what is not with the available bandwidth in the middle of nowhere. Huufe is still in the early stages of development and I’m hoping my experience will help to benefit the app and the users.
My biggest regret is not being able to track our route south from Ulanbaatar to the Gobi Desert. I would have loved to see our adventure via satellite.
Still, I know that not another app would have been able to keep up with the live tracking, after all, most riders did not have cell phone service even with a local SIM card and were completely cut off from the world for two weeks.
Still, when I returned I hopped right back on the app. The biggest problem I have is remembering to start tracking. In my opinion, the best thing about Huufe is its incredible functionality and its ability to know what equestrians want. I’d be very excited to see an app downloadable for the Apple Watch because that is usually what I ride with daily.
But is it only for hacking or can it be used in the ring as well? Up until now, I have only used Huufe on trail rides in the woods. However, I’m getting Ferrous back into a training program and really would like to use the technology to help me see how often I’m walking, trotting, or cantering and show details of my tracking in the ring.
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