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Not Horsing Around

Feb. 5, 2020
Today's technology helps equestrian enthusiast develop a new industry standard.

When David Wadman, co-founder and CEO of Zebra Equine Technologies, purchased a few expensive horses in 2016, the investment significantly increased his awareness for horse care.

“I had always used the best sports medicine horse boots that money could buy to protect my horses’ lower legs and felt confident about putting those boots on my new high-level horses.” At the end of 2016 and all of 2017 his two expensive horses were working great, and Wadman was constantly at the pay window winning rodeos and other equine competitions.

However, halfway through 2017, Wadman noticed the tendons of both horses were swelling. After consulting with a few veterinarians, he learned the swelling was a direct result of using horse boots, which cause heat to intensify on horse's tendon. 

When Wadman could not find any alternatives, he set out to find a solution that leveraged today’s technology. “Technology has improved so many areas of our lives, why not use technology to assist in the better care of my horses? I had been using the most popular equine boot on the market, but I could not get myself to use those any longer after finding out that those horse boots were essentially cooking my horse's legs,” he says.

Tech-fueled solution

Designed in conjunction with veterinarians and horse trainers, Wadman’s team completely reengineered the industry standard horse boot to develop the Z Boot. The new offering features a built-in Bluetooth temperature sensor capable of sending real-time leg temperatures to an app on the rider's smartphone. At the same time, cooling cells inside the Z boot absorb high temperature heat from the horse's leg. 

The Z Boot provides high impact engineered padding to absorbs up to 90% of an impact against the horse's leg. It’s structured materials also help prevent fungus build up on the horse's leg. The cooling cells are active, safe materials that pull heat from the horse's leg and keeps the tendon from overheating. In addition, heat shielding is placed in the boot to limit outside heat exposure from effecting the heat absorption capabilities of the boot.

“Many people are not aware of this dilemma of their current boot's fantastic ability to introduce high temperatures to their horse's legs, making education on this front a necessity,” he says. “The horse's leg puts off an enormous amount of heat during a workout making the task of protecting the horse's leg while keeping it cool a difficult feat.”

Wadman tells IndustryWeek, “Getting a new invention manufactured was definitely the most difficult challenge I have faced in my life.” However, going through the process has sparked a passion. “We have other technology horse products ready to be manufactured and will use the Z Boot as the flagship product,” he says.

“Blinders have been used on horses for some time to take their attention off of situations around them. Turns out horse owners have had blinders on as well. Am I ensuring that my horse is being truly cared for or is my horse in discomfort of any type? The Z Boot allows a rider to take the guess work out of it and use technology to assist in taking care of the horse.”

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