EquiTrace Technology on Display at Fasig-Tipton July

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Buyers and sellers on site this week at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks may have noticed signage for a fast-growing company called EquiTrace. Launched in 2019, the EquiTrace App not only identifies horses with the use of a microchip scanner, but also provides management and traceability solutions for horse farms and equine organizations.

Dr. Kevin Corley, a veterinary specialist in equine medicine and critical care, was one of the key founders of EquiTrace and said that the idea for the product stemmed from the industry's inefficiencies with identifying horses that have led to several high-profile mix-ups in recent years. As EquiTrace developed further, it expanded from not only an identification method, but also a management tool for farm managers, trainers and other equine-related organizations.

“As we launched EquiTrace, we started with the foundation of identification and then worked to address other issues including traceability, medication and what happens to a horse after racing,” Corley explained. “We've worked to build a system that provides real value to the people using it, but also has side benefits of helping the whole industry.”

EquiTrace was first launched in Europe and has been incorporated into many leading stud farms there, but it is now gaining traction in the U.S. and has been put to use at top farms in Kentucky, including Lane's End Farm. The product has already been used at Goffs Bloodstock Sales, but Fasig-Tipton is the first Thoroughbred auction house in the U.S. to partner with EquiTrace. At the Fasig-Tipton July Horses of All Ages and the Selected Yearlings Sales, all incoming horses were identified and checked in via the EquiTrace App.

Fasig-Tipton's Anna Seitz was the first member of Fasig-Tipton's team to learn about the product. She admitted that she had initial  reservations, but was eager to learn more as soon as she saw the app in action.

“I brought everyone in from Fasig-Tipton and showed it to them,” she said. “We all said that we had to get behind this right away because this is something that should have happened 10 years ago. It's cutting edge and it's a really positive thing for the industry. I truly believe that it's something we're all going to be using in the next couple of years. They've been an awesome company to work with and we're very happy to be partnering with them.”

“I think for Fasig-Tipton, it produces a system where they can 100% stand by it and make everything more efficient for checking horses in,” Corley added. “You've got a verifiable chain of how this horse was identified by this person at this time. It speeds up the process of making sure the right horse goes into the sales ring.”

The EquiTrace App works through the use of microchips, which are required by The Jockey Club for all registered Thoroughbred foals of 2017 and later. With the use of a scanner, the app quickly identifies the horse and pulls up its profile. From there, various pieces of information can be traced and recorded for that horse.

“We're trying to produce really useful tools to capture information that everyone needs to manage an efficient farm or training facility right at the sight of the horse,” Corley said. “Every time you scan the microchip, the app captures its GPS location. If you scan a horse when it comes off the van, you have a complete movement record for the horse. One of our clients was called about a foal and he just looked the horse up in the app and could tell the vet which barn to go to.”

Medical records can be maintained on each horse's page. EquiTrace recognizes over 1,000 products through the scan of the medication's barcode. Veterinarians and managers can enter the necessary treatment for a horse. As approved staff scans the horse, they will see the exact medication required along with its dosage and suggested withdrawal time. Users can choose the state jurisdictions they race under to adjust medication guidelines.

Reproductive records can also be traced through the app. Farm managers can maintain notes on each mare's profile as the mare is examined. That information is then easily accessible to other farm staff looking for up-to-date information on the horse.

While all of this data is accessible for horses with any type of microchip, further information can be tracked from horses with the Merck Animal Health Bio-Thermo Microchip, which contains a biosensor that measures a horse's body temperature.

“This is a really powerful tool because at just the stroke of a microchip scanner, people can get the temperature of their horse and the data is captured immediately onto the app,” Corley explained. “As an internal medicine specialist, that excites me because we're all facing a staffing shortage and it's really hard to take temperatures twice a day. With this system, it's very practical and there are no errors. One of our clients said they recorded 18 temperatures in a minute and 19 seconds.”

Looking ahead to the long-term benefits of EquiTrace, Corley said he believe expanded use within the industry will improve traceability of horses once they are retired from racing.

The approximate cost of the app is $2 per horse each month, with discounts available for farms with larger numbers.

“The idea is to give tools to the industry that help them at what is hopefully a price that everyone can afford,” Corley noted. “We've been delighted with the initial uptake in the States and we're working to continue to further that.”

To learn more about EquiTrace, click here.

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