A new and unique Minnesota startup is in the works called Horse Sense Shoes.
The technology involves embedding a non-invasive sensor into a horse shoe that transmits performance indicators like pressure and heat to a SaaS dashboard. With Horse Sense Shoes, horse handlers can be tipped off to critical health issues before they become severely problematic.
“The idea began during a lecture in the summer of 2010, thinking about technology and horses, two areas that I’m passionate about,” says CEO and co founder Mike McHugh, who has been working in the electronics industry since 1988. Less than a year later, McHugh had partnered with Ted Collins and the two had prototyped, proven and and patented their invention.
There are an estimated 75 million horses in the world and 7.5 million performance horses in North America — race horses, show horses, jump horses, etc.” McHugh explains, “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and 33% of these performance horses are injured at any given time according to the AHC, representing $500m in annual losses. This is as much about promoting healthy horses as it is protecting investment.”
Horse Sense Shoes works by establishing a baseline for each individual horse in a web dashboard for the owner, handler, or vet to review. Not only can the data tell an immediate story, such as incorrect shodding, but over time it can be used to show trending changes that may indicate something critically wrong like joint problems, laminitus, or lameness.
The venture has caught the attention of others who have been helping to grow the business from an advisory perspective, including the Minnesota School of Horseshoeing, equine veterinarian Dr. Tom Tobin from the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Bob Racich of Lakeview Farms in Wisconsin.
“There’s nothing close to this in the marketplace right now and we know it works. After being certified under the Minnesota Angel Investor Tax credit program, we’re now exploring fundraising options as we look at the best go-to-market approach, ” McHugh replied when asked what is next.