A running sport like horse racing is an ideal candidate for the GPS technology that is being employed to improve athletes’ training routines and warn of overtraining and potential injury.

GPS is increasingly being integrated into the training regimens of human athletes, from high school to professionals. Runners, for example, have access to relatively low-priced products like the Nike+ Sportswatch that links with a shoe sensor to log data about workouts.

Metrics can be uploaded to a computer for a statistical analysis of a run. Such factors as distance, pace, and split times, can be tracked and compared to historical performance data.

The Australian company Catapult is the global leader in GPS performance evaluation. Its OptimEye S5 is part of the training routines of over 300 athletic teams and institutes around the globe, encompassing a wide array of sports and many of the premier amateur and professional organizations in the world. The OptimEye GPS is attached to an athlete’s uniform and wirelessly sends data to a computing device.

Among the 100-plus performance metrics recorded are distance, velocity, accelerations and decelerations, changes of direction, and heart rate. The feedback enables coaches and trainers to see how an athlete is progressing and to determine when he or she should taper off in order to remain in peak condition for competition.

Catapult is especially valuable in reducing the chances of injury. To illustrate, the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League embed motion sensors into players’ undershirts and monitor for fatigue. Similarly, the equipment signals when a rehabilitating athlete is exceeding prudent limits on vital signs and variables such as speed and distance.

Analytics derived from GPS tracking enhance athletic training or else they would not be adopted so broadly across so many sports and by so many teams and training institutes. Racehorse trainers should benefit from incorporating the proven technology into training regimens.

Copyright © 2013 The Blood-Horse. Used with permission.


  1. Richard LeBlanc says

    You bet Bill! Working on it.