how technology and analytics give riders the edge

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  • Advances in technology and data analysis are helping cyclists fill in a missing piece of the performance puzzle.

    Leading data analytics firm EquiRatings, which launched eventing in 2015, has expanded into show jumping during the pandemic – and is unlocking potential goldmines of usable information.



    Co-founder Diarm Byrne said H&H the Tokyo Olympics were a “turning point”.

    Their rankings and analysis showed that the Swedish show jumping team was “through the roof – far ahead”, and the gold medal served as a milestone for EquiRatings.

    “It was such a risk in 2020,” he said. “When all the live competition stopped our income dried up and we had to call the team – it’s really hard to build a team like this – now we have no live calculations to work on, we don’t have Olympic teams to prepare, what do we do with all these resources? That’s when we said, ‘OK, it’s time, don’t let anyone leave, we’re going to do jumps’.

    The business is multi-pronged, working with events to create engagement and stories, including through online games, and also with teams and federations to give another tool to measure performance and set benchmarks. Goals.

    Diarm added that taking statistics beyond the numbers and using analytics to make them “mean something” is central to what they do.

    A recent example of this can be found on the latest EquiRatings podcast, during which Diarm and Irish medal-winning rider co-founder Sam Watson assess what their data analysis says about measuring a horse’s performance at nine years old by about their chances for the future. Hit.

    “We’re starting to work with events where we help them understand who’s coming to the contest, how to make stories out of it, what stories are buried in the data,” Diarm said.

    “We have entered Olympic teams in show jumping, so we help them follow the young horses, raise the bar, set those goals.

    “How do you manage a program for the ultimate talents? Often it is said: “You just have to let them manage themselves”. I think top runners need new goals.

    He set the example of Roger Bannister and once he hit the mile in four minutes, others did too.

    “It’s the idea that it’s possible, once people have a target,” he said. “Giving people the numbers, measuring things helps raise the bar; it actually sets the bar for people to jump higher and higher and get better and better.

    He added that data analysis does not replace other crucial elements of performance, such as team dynamics, soundness, conformation, veterinary care and psychology.

    “We’re not trying to say that none of these things are critical; it’s just that the numbers are,” he said.

    “It opens the door”

    A new platform for international dressage and para dressage riders to review their past athletic performance was unveiled this month.

    The FEI Dressage Performance Dashboard, launched in partnership with SAP and Black Horse One, allows riders to access all of their paperless score sheets, including judges’ comments, over the past five years. The basic level is free, with other features available on paid subscription.

    “The FEI Dressage Performance Dashboard is another example of how technology can be introduced into equestrian sport to inform training practices and improve athletic performance,” said Ralph Straus, commercial director of the EIF.

    Gaspard Dufour, Director of Information Technology and Sport at the FEI, added: “Through this platform, athletes can not only read comments from judges and incorporate these comments into their training sessions, but they can also compare the performance of their different horses as well as other combinations.

    “Having all this information now at everyone’s fingertips is a key step for equestrian sport and opens the door to more long-term technological advancements.”

    American start-up Prixview, founded by Olympic silver medalist show jumper Lucy Davis, is working to break into the lucrative fantasy gaming industry through data analytics.

    The company collects data – down to details of surface type, lead gallop, which part of a fence was knocked down and whether it was a front or back leg – that feeds its insights.

    Its fantasy games run on predictions, with cash prizes, and encourage players to follow and learn more about the horses and riders involved, increasing viewership and highlighting trends.

    “We believe that if we use data to create predictive analytics that not only fuel fantastic games, but really compelling storylines for media and broadcast, we can truly grow and engage show jumping audiences,” Clémentine Goutal, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Prixview says H&Hadding that this creates opportunities for both fan engagement and marketing insights for businesses.

    “We have the welfare of the horses and the welfare of the athletes at the forefront of our concerns. We’re taking all the necessary steps to make sure it’s going to be something really positive for the sport, and not just creating all of these money-making opportunities, but creating them in a way that’s really good for everyone involved. ”

    She added, “The female athlete and the female fan are undervalued. Women are also heavily underrepresented in tech. So as women in tech, it’s very exciting to work in a space. where we try to bring more value to female athletes as well as male athletes, and work in a space where men and women compete.

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