Temperature checks are a vital part of horse health assessment within a racing stable, as high temperatures can indicate the early onset of a virus or bug. A horse can present outwardly normal, with a raised temperature the only indication that the individual is off-colour. The ramifications for poor race day performance or associated effects of physical exertion while unwell are potentially significant.
“Having the ability to assess that average, to say ‘this individual is 38.2C but his normal average temperature is 37.6C, he’s actually OK but let’s monitor him’, it helps in that diagnostic process. You establish what normal is for each individual and then you can assess its condition from that point,” said Duckworth.
Soon though, the horizons were expanded for StableWizard as the Waller stable began to explore the possibilities of the technology and how it could contribute to the wider horse welfare program within the stable.
Historical data was collected and collated on a daily basis, and now, after two years of trials, over half a million data points have been recorded.
“It’s pretty powerful. If a horse has a temperature half a degree outside of its established average, StableWizard sends an alert to the trainer and foreman to say, ‘hey, we might have a problem here’, and we can address that problem immediately,” said Duckworth.
Additional horse health indicators have been added, including amounts of waste feed left by each horse each day, which allows for data-driven correlations to be made, linking temperature to feed consumption to general demeanour to output on the training or race track. A full health picture can then be built daily for each horse in work.
The time demands on Australia’s leading trainer are immense. Chris Waller cannot be everywhere at once, and so Waller wanted StableWizard to improve communication and interaction across his staff from the bottom to the top. The responsibility on those that work closest with the horse has led to a more fluent workplace, which is critical to the success of a massive four-stable operation like Chris Waller Racing.