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The Problem: Equine Distress

Equine distress can present in many ways and stem from many factors including injury, trauma, illness, fear, and boredom. There are a number of common equine distress conditions, including colic, being cast, and foaling, that can negatively impact your horse and result in serious injury or death if not detected and addressed early. 

Colic is the leading natural cause of death in horses, and the AAEP estimates that more than 900,000 horses in the US will experience an episode of colic this year. However, if caught early 85-90% of these cases can be treated medically and without the need for invasive and costly surgery. Unfortunately, we can't always be there with our horses, especially overnight, to catch the signs, but NIGHTWATCH® can be.

The Solution: NIGHTWATCH®

NIGHTWATC is the World's first smart halter™ (optional safety collar) designed to alert you via text, phone call, and email at the early signs of danger/distress in your horse, such as colic, being cast, and foaling. 

This revolutionary IoT-enabled device (US patent no. 9,629,340) monitors real-time data on your horse’s vital signs and behaviors, works across 3G/cellular and WiFi networks, offers GPS tracking, and leverages artificial intelligence/machine learning to adapt to your horse over time for maximum precision and benefit. All electronics (eg, sensors, microprocessors, transceivers, batteries) is non-invasively embedded within the padded leather crown of each halter/collar making NIGHTWATCH® safe and comfortable for long-term use in a variety of conditions. Access to real-time insight and historical information, including your horse's EDI® score, is available on-demand 24/7 from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

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How do I know if my horse is in distress?

The vital signs of a horse, coupled with its posture and actions/movements can directly correlate with their well-being and behaviors that are indicative of danger/distress (eg, colic, being cast) or other conditions where intervention may be warranted (eg, foaling). When a horse is experiencing colic or is cast, the animal will be in a distressed state as evidenced by measurable changes in their vital signs (eg, heart rate, respiratory rate), posture (eg, recumbency), and repeated characteristic motion patterns (eg, pawing, kicking, rising/falling, rolling +/- thrashing). When this occurs, intervention is needed immediately to assess the severity of distress and determine whether or not to refer to a veterinary clinic.

What is the EDI® (Equine Distress Index®)?

The EDI® (Equine Distress Index®) is a proprietary 10-point scale, offered only by NIGHTWATCH®, used to quantify relative distress in your horse. The lower your horse’s EDI® score, the happier and healthier they are.

What is my horse’s EDI® score?

Your horse’s EDI® score is an objective measure of their relative distress and general well-being at any given point in time. This score is a composite value derived from multiple parameters, including biometric and behavioral inputs, environmental conditions, pre-existing risk factors, and more using a proprietary Fuzzy Inference System.

Will NIGHTWATCH® be available outside the US and Canada?*

NIGHTWATCH® is presently available for horses domiciled within the US and Canada. However, we are working to make NIGHTWATCH® available in other countries/regions outside of North America. Check back for more updates.

Where can I buy NIGHTWATCH®?

NIGHTWATCH® is offered exclusively by Protequus®, and can only be purchased online at nightwatch24.com or by calling customer care at 800-787-3856.

Why do I need NIGHTWATCH®?

Most horses spend a significant amount of time each day unsupervised, especially overnight, which is when many horses can experience distress. For this reason, we invented NIGHTWATCH®, an early warning system that acts like a personal security system for your horse’s health. It is our hope that the introduction of NIGHTWATCH® will allow for earlier intervention by caretakers resulting in improved survival and quality of life outcomes in many horses.

How does NIGHTWATCH® work?

NIGHTWATCH® uses a variety of sensors to collect real-time data on your horse’s vital signs and behaviors, while advanced computational software analyzes this data and calculates a quantifiable measure of their relative distress (ie, EDI® score) on a 10-point scale. When a user-defined threshold of distress is breached, NIGHTWATCH® will alert up to 5 caretakers via text, phone call, and email simultaneously as a broadcast or in a cascading fashion until the alert notification is acknowledged.

What vital signs does NIGHTWATCH® monitor?

NIGHTWATCH® uses novel radio frequency technology (ie, ultra-wideband impulse radar [UWB-IR]) to monitor your horse’s heart rate and respiratory rate, the two most important vital signs that correlate with pain and acute distress in horses. UWB-IR technology works much like sonar whereby the sensor measures the physical displacement (ie, constriction and dilation) of the microvasculature around your horse’s poll (ie, area behind their ears) for heart rate, while also assessing physical changes in the soft tissue of their upper respiratory region for respiratory rate.

What behaviors does NIGHTWATCH® monitor?

NIGHTWATCH® uses a variety of sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, and altimeters to continuously assess your horse’s activity, motion, and posture. More specifically, NIGHTWATCH® identifies and flags (for evaluation) first-time novel events that may be indicative of distress along with known movements that likely correlate with distress such as pawing, kicking, flank watching, repeated rising/falling, extended periods of recumbency, violent rolling with/without thrashing, etc.

How does NIGHTWATCH® learn my horse?

Every horse is different, which is why NIGHTWATCH® leverages artificial intelligence/machine learning to learn your horse's unique physiology, to adapt to them over time, and to identify novel events that may be indicative of danger/distress and warrant the attention of a caretaker. The longer your horse wears their NIGHTWATCH® device, the more refined and precise their personal distress algorithm will become.

How does NIGHTWATCH® notify a caretaker?

When distress is detected, NIGHTWATCH® will alert up to 5 caretakers via text, phone call, and email simultaneously as a broadcast or in a cascading fashion until the alert notification is acknowledged. An LED on the ID plate of each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar further offers a visual indicator of your horse’s relative distress. Just look for the green light for reassurance your horse is happy and within their normal/non-distress state.

Do I need WiFi in my barn for NIGHTWATCH® to work?

Although your NIGHTWATCH® device has the ability to connect and transmit data over both WiFi and cellular (3G) networks, you do not need WiFi in your barn for NIGHTWATCH® to work. However, you will need to periodically connect your device to a local WiFi network for firmware updates; the same process you likely do for your smart phone.

How do I know NIGHTWATCH® is working?

An LED on your NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar displays the operational and battery state of the device. You can also log into your account at nightwatch24.com from any smartphone, tablet, or computer to view the state of the device and/or horse at any time.

How is NIGHTWATCH® powered?

NIGHTWATCH® is powered by several rechargeable lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries, which are not the same as lithium-ion batteries that have attracted negative attention in recent years. By comparison LiPo batteries are thinner, more lightweight, and safer than lithium-ion batteries, but they do cost more to manufacture and do not have the same energy density.

How often do I have to recharge my NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar?

With normal use, NIGHTWATCH® will need to be recharged daily. Each charge cycle is estimated to be 2-3 hours. To conserve the battery, the device will automatically go into a “sleep” mode when it is not being worn by your horse. Each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar has a magnetic charging port and comes with a UL-certified charging cable with USB wall adapter.

Can I use the same NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar on multiple horses?

Each NIGHTWATCH® smart device is adaptive and conforms to one particular horse over time. To maximize precision and benefit, proprietary distress algorithms are continuously being updated as each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar learns your horse’s unique biometric parameters and behavioral patterns. Therefore, we DO NOT RECOMMEND interchanging NIGHTWATCH® halters/collars among multiple horses. However, if you do have a need to transfer a device between horses, baseline parameters can be reset, and historical data transferred. NOTE: Once transferred, you will no longer have access to historical data on original horse.

Will NIGHTWATCH® work on broodmares who are about to foal?

Yes, NIGHTWATCH® can be used on broodmares who are about to foal because the system will detect changes in their biometrics, which is observed in 85-90% of broodmares during foaling, as well as changes in their activity, motion, and posture.

How can I view my horse’s data?

You can view real-time insight and historical information on your horse on after logging into your account at nightwatch24.com from any smartphone, tablet, or computer to view the state of the device and horse at any time.

How does NIGHTWATCH® locate my horse?

NIGHTWATCH® is equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) allowing you to pinpoint and track the location of your horse anywhere in the US and Canada. This is especially helpful for competition horses who travel often and for young horses who like to play and remove tack while turned out. In this latter event if the halter/collar is removed, GPS will allow you to locate and recover the device very easily.

I live in an area with low cellular signal. Will NIGHTWATCH® still work?

There may be some areas in the US and Canada with limited cellular (3G) coverage. However, unlike voice transmission, NIGHTWATCH® requires only minimal cellular signal for transmission of data when not connected to a WiFi network. For areas with insufficient 3G/GSM cellular data coverage (eg, AT&T, T-Mobile, and regional providers), we recommend you have NIGHTWATCH® connected to a WiFi network at all times as well as consider a wireless repeater/amplifier. NOTE: You will need to periodically connect your NIGHTWATCH® device to a local WiFi network for firmware updates; the same process you likely do for your smart phone.

What does the NIGHTWATCH® monitoring service/license agreement offer me?

Each NIGHTWATCH® smart device requires an annual monitoring contract/license agreement, which can be paid in 12 monthly installments of $29.99 or once annually for $329.99. Each contract carries an early termination fee of $199.99 and allows for real-time analysis of data; data transmission across cellular networks (up to 1 GB/month); automatic alert notifications for up to 5 people via text, phone call, and email; personalized distress algorithms; and 24/7 on-demand access to insight and historical information on your horse from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Is NIGHTWATCH® offered in multiple sizes?

NIGHTWATCH® breakaway halters are offered in 3 sizes and safety collars in 4 sizes via a specially-designed leather coupler with form-shaping inlay for contouring purposes. Each smart device is made from only premium appointment-quality 1” Havana brown English Bridle leather with 18/8 stainless steel hardware, including a double-buckle crown (halter and collar) and a snap throat latch (halter).

What size NIGHTWATCH® halter and/or collar does my horse need?

Most horses (15.1-16.1 hands; 1,000-1,200 lbs) will need a standard-size halter and collar, whereas smaller horses (14.1-15.1 hands; 800-1,000 lbs) such as Arabians, Morgans, and yearlings may be better suited for a cob-size. Oversize halters and collars are available for larger breeds (over 16.1 hands or over 1,200 lbs) while heavy horses and draft breeds can be accommodated through a special order. For horses with refined/narrow facial features, you may want to consider an adjustable chin halter. We recommend ponies (under 14.1 or under 800 lbs) use only a collar as halters are not available at this time.

Does my NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar require any special care?

NIGHTWATCH® is durable, but does contain sensitive electronic components so appropriate care should be given to ensure longevity and proper functionality. Although all embedded technology is enclosed within a flexible, water- and dust-resistant enclosure, excessive water exposure and submersion should be avoided. Each halter/collar is constructed using all-natural English Bridle leather from Wickett & Craig that has been hand-selected by Freedman Harness and Saddlery Company. English Bridle is a traditional leather (cow hide) used in a variety of applications, from classic equestrian tack to high-end leather goods. Drum dyed and hot stuffed, English Bridle is smooth, flexible yet durable.

Is NIGHTWATCH® safe?

NIGHTWATCH® is safe and complies with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to Part 15 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. NIGHTWATCH® further ensures compliance with Industry Canada (IC) license-exempt RSS standards, PTCRB/CTIA certifcation standards, and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 60950 product safety standards. NIGHTWATCH® was developed under the expert guidance of veterinarians and has been tested on many horses of various breeds and sizes across the United States.

I am concerned about leaving any halter on my horse overnight.

We recognize some equestrians may have apprehension leaving a halter on a horse overnight or for an extended period of time, especially when they are unsupervised. For this reason, we have developed the optional NIGHTWATCH® safety collar in addition to the NIGHTWATCH® breakaway halter. NIGHTWATCH® halters/collars have been specifically designed to have multiple breakaway points because we want to do everything within reason to reduce the likelihood of causing harm. Due to the low break-point of all-natural leather vs nylon, we DO NOT RECOMMEND using any NIGHTWATCH® crown in conjunction with a nylon halter.

Where is NIGHTWATCH® made?

Our handcrafted halters and collars are designed and manufactured in Toronto, Canada and Rochester, New York, while all other operations are in Austin, Texas.

What is your customer care policy?

We are committed 100% to customer satisfaction. If you are unsatisfied in anyway with your NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar, please call us at 800-757-3856 M-F (8:30 am to 5:30 pm CST) or email us at support@protequus.com.

Who is Protequus®?

Protequus® is a biomedical engineering and data science firm in Austin, Texas dedicated to equine health & safety and the developers of NIGHTWATCH®. Founded in 2013 after the sudden loss of one of his horses to colic, Jeffrey R. Schab—an accomplished equestrian and biomedical engineer—assembled a team of passionate science & technology professionals to find a solution to combat the devastating impact of colic, which claims the lives of >60,000 horses each year in the US and results in more than $700 million in annual losses. Today, that solution is known as NIGHTWATCH®, which is available to horses domiciled in the US and Canada.