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Digital inspection of SWANA foals in Covid-19 times

Evaluation, using the Ridesum app: Star Wars (2013/SWB Shooting Star - Wilma Rudolph x Warsteiner), shown by Annika Brasch

By Hillevi Brasch
Photography: Hillevi Brasch

SWANA, the Swedish Warmblood Association of North America organizes an annual inspection tour across the USA and Canada: a time for breeders to present their foals, for young horses to do the young horse test, and for stallion prospects to be evaluated. The judges are always from the SWB inspection committee in Sweden, which presented somewhat of an obstacle during this pandemic year.

As time went on and the realization that the annual inspection tour would not happen due to the current Covid-19 outbreak, the quest for something to fill the void began. Katarina Antens-Miller, president of SWANA says: “Foals do not have to be inspected to be registered with SWANA, however breeders often want to present their foals and we felt it would be a shame to just let this year pass without offering something else instead.” Enter Ridesum! The Swedish app that originated from the idea of remote digital training.
Ridesum was launched in 2019 in Sweden by the founders Jenny Stråhle and Karin Lindell, and in May of this year the English version was added. Much to the delight of users all over the world (in 20 countries), who have until now been using the only version available in Swedish. Now that the English version is here, there are users in 40 different countries and this number is growing, having seen a huge increase in user accounts when the spring coronavirus lock-downs began. Riders still wanted to ride for their favorite trainer, and trainers still needed to keep their business going despite the confinements of home.
The app gives you the ability to train ‘live’ – or in SWANA’s case, present horses live, which is a must when evaluating a horse. A pre-recorded video will not suffice when looking at a horse’s conformation as a judge needs to be able to tell the handler how they want to see the horse presented, so a pre-recorded video simply will not do the trick. For example: “One more time on a straight line please.” Or “Walk the mare a bit faster to see the foal pick up the pace.”
Now, SWANA foals will be inspected digitally via Ridesum with the appointed SWB judges from the Swedish inspection committee during two weeks in September. Just as in a regular inspection the breeder will sign up for inspection via SWANA, while the date and time for inspection is agreed between the breeder and the judge using the Ridesum app. Apart from the handlers of the mare and foal there also needs to be a person who films the inspection on site via the Ridesum app and communicates with the appointed judge as this is a ‘live’ event.
Immediately after the presen-tation, the breeder will receive the marks and comments on the foal as well as a linear score sheet (albeit this time via e-mail). A SWANA ribbon and inspection certificate will arrive later in the mail. The service is also open for mares that previously have not been presented and need their conform-ation scores to receive their perform-ance star grading... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber