By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter
Alcochette, Portugal: Horses taking part in tomorrow's 160-km FEI European Open Championship will be fitted with a GPS chip in their collars to keep track of their progress.
"This is the first time that a GPS system will be used in a major endurance championship and this has been done at the initiative of the Portuguese Equestrian Federation," said Hallvard Sommerseth, the Foreign Technical Delegate for the championship.
The Norwegian veteran of endurance rides said the introduction of the GPS will help keep track of the runners at various stages of the competition.
The move will aid in ensuring the welfare of the horse as well as it will give organisers insight into how the runners are faring. In endurance the horses run in stages of about 30 to 40kms at a stretch and are subjected to stiff veterinary checks after every stage to ensure their welfare. In between the stages the horses are given about 20 to 30 minutes to recover for the next stage.
"The European Championship will also be bigger and better this year as there will be live coverage of the event on Portuguese TV as well as Dubai and Qatar TV channels," Sommerseth added.
The move will aid in ensuring the welfare of the horse as well as it will give organisers insight into how the runners are faring.