Ride More Consistently with Equla Vert

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Working towards getting that "sweet spot" in your horse's contact and head position? Looking for an easy and affordable way to keep your horse's training on track even if you ride alone? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this piece is for you! Tune in to the video below as RW crew member Sonya tests out and reviews the Equla Vert, the world's first bridle sensor to measure your horse's head angle in real time.


I threw a lot of information at you in the video above, so I wanted to take a deeper dive into my personal experience with the Vert on my horse, Caspian (aka "The Whale"). Read on for the full rundown (with lots of images, of course)!

A Bit About Me and "The Whale"

First, a little background on my horse. Every horse has their little tricks to evade true connection from back to front, and every rider has their faults, which most of the time enable the weaknesses we see in our horse. The Whale, for example, LOVES to tuck his nose just behind the vertical, and it's so subtle that often times I am tricked into thinking he's going correctly. This isn't helped by the fact that I'm weak in my core and lower legs, so I get lured into the trap of not using enough leg to get him moving from back to front, instead letting my upper body collapse forward and using my hand for balance (riding front to back). He's also got a super soft mouth, so anything I do incorrectly in the saddle is immediately apparent. To top it off, I ride alone most of the time, so I don't have anyone on the ground to tell me that I'm riding front to back and my horse is "cheating."

Anyway, that's a little bit about us and our issues. Now, on to the good stuff!

Snapshot of my Experience

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The sensor is super light and easy to attach to the crown piece of your bridle - just make sure to get it on there tight!

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To calibrate the Vert, first you enter your horse's name and bridle details.

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The first time you calibrate, your trainer or a friend has to press "set" when your horse's head is on the vertical. I suppose you could do it yourself, but the idea is to get eyes on the ground to tell you exactly when your horse's head is where it should be. Don't worry, this is the only part where you need a friend!

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After you calibrate for the first time, you're good to go! Just make sure your phone is on you. Like the technologically incompetent person I am, I didn't have my phone on me at first and kept wondering why the Vert kept disconnecting! I of course blamed the Vert, later realizing that it was clearly a case of operator error...once we got over this small hurdle, the Vert worked flawlessly.

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A snapshot from the "Whale cam" - I know the photo doesn't do it justice, but the light actually shines pretty bright. Plus, you can adjust the brightness settings in the Vert app. I was amazed at how quickly the Vert detected when The Whale starting "turtling" behind the vertical.

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This is where The Whale likes to be - slightly behind. Right when I saw the sensor flash red (confirming that he was in fact behind the bit), I'd give him a firm squeeze, focusing on keeping my lower legs connected to his belly throughout the entire stride and softening my hands. This would cause him to come on the vertical and push from the hind, turning the Vert sensor green again. The process repeated a few times until I got the feel more consistently.

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A little better, but still slightly behind. For The Whale, I optimized my settings so that even an evasion this subtle would turn the sensor red.

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A firm squeeze, softening the hands at the same time, gets The Whale pushing from the hind and on the vertical, turning the sensor green!

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That's better! I'm still riding too much with my hands here, but it's a step in the right direction!

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This head position is the ultimate goal for me and The Whale. His nose is poking slightly out, but since we mostly ride on the Hunter / Jumper circuit, I actually don't want him too on the vertical. Plus, since he's so sensitive and wants to be slightly behind the vertical all the time, I'll take a slightly poked out nose any day!
The Bottom Line

As with many new things, I was skeptical at first, but I think the biggest thing the Vert did for me is make me realize just how often I let The Whale go behind the vertical. I do think it's a slippery slope because you don't want to rely on technology to tell you when your horse is or isn't going correctly. However, for a horse like The Whale, because he's so subtle about the evasion, the Vert quickly taught me what this feels like. The sensor is so responsive that right when he started to come behind, the light would flash red until I applied more leg, softened my hand, and rode correctly to get him engaging the proper muscles.

Now, when I ride without the Vert, I'm so much more aware of The Whale's evasion and the weaknesses in my riding that instigate this. For a little over $100, you can't go wrong. It's easy to use, it doesn't bother the horse, and it gives me peace of mind that even though I'm riding alone, my training is progressing the right way. Thank you for tuning in! For more detailed information, including how to use the "heart" and "pace" functions, Equla Vert has a lot of diagrams and information on their own website. Check it out here! To get your own, check out the Equla Vert on the Riding Warehouse website.

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For such a small device, the Vert sure does have a lot of nifty features and tools!
 
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