Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Kurtsystems: A kinder way to do a cruel job?

Can we do this for us as well?  Like long before anyone makes anywhere close to olympic standards?

We have no end of athelites who wrecked themselves in training.  That likely also applies to no end of non athelites who start obsessively training.  jumping on or off a training machine like this can be made easy enough by simply sitting down on a seat.  It still calls for a training track of course, but we have all that.

A track system can be placed over the inner track easily enough and the management rig hung over the track.  May still want an outer system but a counterweight system is possible as well and can even double up capacity.  a doiuble capacity apparatus with even four places could work on any track while monitoring actual progress..

Kurtsystems: A kinder way to do a cruel job?

May 28, 2023


Kurtsystems: neither a rollercoaster for horses, nor a dystopian hover-chariot

Sadly, this is not a rollercoaster for horses. And despite its dystopian hover-chariot looks, it's actually designed to be a kinder and safer way to prepare young horses for the often-damaging shock of beginning a race training program.

It's another topic altogether whether horse racing in and of itself constitutes animal abuse – we've all got our opinions on that. But starting from the assumptions that it's going to happen, and that a lot of the people involved in racing are truly dedicated to the horsies they work with on a daily basis, we can proceed to look at this enormous, multi-million-dollar pre-training device from neutral ground.

The Kurtsystem, developed by one Mehmet Kurt of Turkey, is designed to prevent career-ending injuries by gradually improving the joint, muscle and bone strength of young would-be racehorses before they're handed over to trainers and jockeys.

The Kurtsystem as installed at Kingwood Stud in England

Hard race-training, says the company, places unreasonable stresses on two-year-old horses, and their underdeveloped musculoskeletal systems – particularly the leg joints – can buckle under the pressure as a result. The resulting injuries, often to the tendons and ligaments, usually become recurring issues, and only one in five horses that suffers one will ever go on to race "without ensuing problems."

Thus, the Kurtsystem, which has been developed to take human errors and expectations out of the loop as much as possible. It's quite an investment, as an entire short track with an overhead rail system the whole way around, as well as the 10-horse "cabinet" system, loaded with equine fitness monitoring (EFM) equipment.

The horses work with the system for six months before going on to specific training for the discipline of racing they'll go on to compete in. The Kurtsystem is not, as you might expect looking at it, a way to harness up young horses and make them pull against increasing loads. The carriage system is capable of moving by itself. Indeed, back in 2009, it was literally a car.

The sled neither pushes nor pulls on the horses, and moves under its own electrical power

Instead, it's designed neither to push nor to pull on the horses, just to encourage them to move naturally at a controlled pace, while hooked up to a bunch of EFM gear to track and record heart rate, gait and breathing data while showing camera views of each horse to a technician riding along in a cabinet of their own. If something looks a bit off, a horse is taken out of the system and the rest continue training.

Ideally, the company says, horses can start their pre-training at 10-12 months of age, learning to walk in the machine in a low-stress environment. Three months later, a walk/train/cool down exercise program begins, and each horse gets a custom-designed saddle, which is gradually weighted as the operators monitor the data streams, as well as each horse's behavior, to make sure they're getting enough without getting too much.

That allows their bodies to slowly acclimatize to the weight a jockey will add to their backs. The system is also designed to minimize the psychological shock that hits young horses when they're first exposed to things like gag bits and reins. There's an emergency stop button, and if this is pressed (or the electrics fail), the machine designed to coast to a stop rather than stopping dead.
Trainers ride along, monitoring each horse through a video feed as key data is collected

Costing somewhere in the realm of US$25 million to develop, this is certainly not a cheap system. But the company says that "not one of the hundreds of horses that have been trained in the Kurtsystem has lost its footing or fallen," and that the young horses that have been through the program have come out stronger, more balanced and athletic, with solidified bones and tendons, and with a better mindset when entering training.

Having said that, the company provides no public stats on injury rates with and without training in the system. And it is most certainly part of a morally indefensible broader industry. But this device does seem to align the wellbeing of the animals with the owner's expected financial returns. Make of it what you will, we're certainly not cheerleading. Check out a video below.

Kurtsystems Short Film

Source: Kurtsystem

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