Being a barn manager for any horse facility is labor intensive to say the least. The day begins when others are still asleep, before sunup, while the stars and moon are still set from the night before. Having a regular routine is essential to getting all the work done, on time and with no mistakes.
Barn managers are constantly searching for solutions to making their care-taking routine work better. A good routine is one that is efficient and alerts us to any problems that need to be solved. Most of the time, we know that each day’s routine will be mostly the same. However, there are outliers: horses that need special monitoring, mares in foal, our older equine friends, and horses with known or suspected health issues all require extra observation. Having a monitoring system that alerts a caretaker to any issues is a valuable tool to add to the care-taking routine.
NIGHTWATCH® uses a proprietary scale, the EDI™, or Equine Distress Index, to set up a system of regular readings for each horse monitored through our smart halter or collar. A great analogy to demonstrate how this technology works is the analogy of a FICO credit score. Once a year, every person is entitled to a free transcription of your credit rating. However, these can come from a multitude of companies, and each company’s analysis of your credit score might be slightly different. The result is voluminous and not all that easy to understand. A FICO score, however, is a composite number that determines your credit rating and is used in lending and mortgage applications. The higher the score, the better the chance for getting a loan.
The NIGHTWATCH® EDI™ score works in a similar way. NIGHTWATCH® is controlled through an algorithm that measures your horse’s unique physiology. Just like each credit company might give you a slightly different score, your horse’s vital signs will see daily periods of fluctuation. These changes will result in a momentary “spike” in the readings from the sensors. However, the EDI™ score is a propriety scale that analyzes all these various readings and compiles them into one composite score of your horse’s relative distress, on a scale of 1 - 10. The higher the number, the more distressed your horse is. Over time, NIGHTWATCH® learns your horse’s unique behaviors and biometrics, and the accuracy of the EDI™ score increases. A mare going into early labor, a horse cast in their stall, or a horse with unexpected colic symptoms are all cases where NIGHTWATCH® will alert the caretaker to take action.
Using the EDI™ score as as part of a regular routine will enable caretakers to be proactive when a horse needs attention. Even when you’re not at the barn, your horse’s EDI™ score is always available to view in real time through our application for your smartphone, or by logging into our web dashboard. In a crisis situation, this score can help your vet make the best care decision for your horse, hopefully resulting in a better life outcome. Most caretakers judge a horse’s distress level by watching exterior signs of problems, but NIGHTWATCH® also monitors the unseen signs (heart rate / respiratory rate) continually and through the EDI® score, provides a quick reference number that can be used to keep our horses safe and healthy.