Innovative trailblazers: The winners of the EQUITANA INNOVATION AWARD 2017

23 Mar 2017

Presented first a decade ago, the EQUITANA Innovation Award today is the most distinct honour bestowed by the European horse and rider industry. The sixth award was once again aimed at making everyday life easier for horse owners, riders and breeders. The search for the best submissions turned out anything but easy for the eight-member jury. They travelled a combined 100 kilometres crisscrossing the Exhibition Centre site in order to determine the best ten out of 56 nominated products.

On 21 March, the winners were recognised at the Large Ring – the heart of EQUITANA, which was held from 18 to 26 March in Essen. The EQUITANA Innovation Award is presented in cooperation with Pferdebetrieb.

Category 1: Stable, Hall and Arena Construction
Company: Viebrockreithallen GmbH
Product: ALEXANDRA Safety Bumper

Viebrockreithallen GmbH’s ALEXANDRA safety bumper won the Stable, Hall and Arena Construction category. Aimed at minimising the risk of injury due to hard-construction outdoor riding arenas – of which there are many – the safety bumper can simply be mounted on top of existing systems. The polyurethane integral foam absorbs impact and, thanks to indirect lighting, lights the way in the dark. The jury said this safety product doesn’t just benefit riders and thus the customers of equestrian operations, it also provides optical, easy-to-see guidance for the horse. The product, which can be retrofitted, consists of materials with an excellent track record in, for example, motorcycle helmets.

Category 2: Pasture/Stable Technology and Accessories
Firma: pro-equi
Produkt: pro-equi electronic stable label (esl)

The award in Category 2 goes to pro-equi for the pro-equi electronic stable label (esl) in conjunction with the software that’s behind it. The pro-equi ESL is a digital, battery-powered box sign. It displays key information in an easy-to-read format and can be changed in a snap anytime. As such, the digital stable sign solves several everyday problems at horse farms.  
It simplifies communication between managers, stable staff and horse owners. Feeding, owner and other data can be updated via a software program. Really winning over the jury, however, were the display’s multi-colour, multi-language capabilities, which ensure that notes about a colic, for example, aren’t missed or misunderstood. The esl’s technical features were similarly convincing. The sign is dust-proof and sturdy; it consumes zero energy in regular operation and doesn’t require a permanent wireless connection in order to display the information.

Category 3: Feeding and Trough Technology
Company: HAU GmbH
Product: HAU Hay Box
The Category 3 winner is the HAU Hay Box. Combined with a hay net, it allows the horse to feed longer in a natural feeding position. According to the jury, the product isn’t just labour-efficient for equestrian operations – it also reduces fodder waste. Filling the Hay Box and pushing it into the box from the stable walkway is a breeze. Plus, it promotes a natural feeding position and, thanks to an integrated hay net, extends the feeding time. One caveat noted by the jury: care should be taken to match the size of the box to the size of the horse. The jury also recommended adding air holes to allow dust to escape.

Category 4: Fodder
Company: EMMA Eventing GmbH
Product: My Mash
My Mash, a wet food, won the Fodder category. As a convenience mash that’s ready to feed without cumbersome preparations, it saves owners all the steps currently required to feed mash. The jury was impressed with the mash because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require soaking, which means it can be fed immediately. Plus, it’s been high-pressure sanitised and is highly shelf-stable.

Category 5: Health / Care
Company: iHr-Medizingeräte & Vertrieb e.K.
Product: PUR-HOCL
PUR-HOCL is a novel disinfectant that’s perfect for, among other uses, disinfecting surfaces. It’s DLG-tested, and its disinfecting effect has been proven. According to the jury, hygiene and stable disinfection are often neglected at horse farms. To make matters worse, conventional disinfectants often leave residue. iHr Medizingeräte succeeded in producing a novel hypochlorous  acid-based disinfectant. The compound, which is also produced by the human body, could not until now be preserved using conventional methods. DLG (the German Agricultural Society) has verified the product’s efficacy, which in turn convinced the jury to recognise this contribution to stable hygiene, near 100% of which disintegrates into water after the application. 
Category 6: Riding and Work Fashions, Safety Products
Product: Precto Evolution
Instead of rigid plates, the Precto Evolution uses flexible honeycombs to protect children’s upper bodies while riding. Not only do they ensure a comfortable fit, they also meet the requirements of the EN 1621-2 safety standard. USG’s product prevailed in Category 6 because, while protector systems for adults have been available, the Precto Evolution is suitable for children as young as 3 and aimed at safely  introducing young riders to the sport. The protector, which meets the motorcycle standard, is highly flexible and ultra-comfortable to wear.

Category 7: Horse Equipment and Training Technology
Company: Sattlerei Hennig
Product: Free Motion System (FMS)
Sattlerei Hennig, a saddlery, received the prize for the English-style FMS snaffle bridle. The product shows that innovations don’t always have to be high-tech solutions. Instead, the Free Motion snaffle is a most convincing display of classic craftsmanship: the noseband of a combined bridle was modified such that the soft tissue on the horse’s head is no longer pushed onto the edges of the upper row of teeth. With this product, Sattlerei Hennig is making an important contribution to the well-being of horses. The craftsmanship is excellent and, even better, implemented in an unobtrusive way.  
Category 8: Vehicles and Trailers
Company: Humbaur GmbH
Product: Humbaur EquiGuard
The Humbaur EquiGuard makes releasing quick and easy thanks to a simple click system. In case of a panic release, the system only unlocks the transport safety bar rather than the entire bracket. At the same time, it offers maximum comfort for the horse. Humbaur boosts horse transport safety, because the EquiGuard makes it possible to unlock the breast or rear latch from the outside and – particularly important – without tools. Moreover, the system offers three different adjustment heights, making it ideal for horses of varying sizes. The jury suggested adding a locking mechanism for the outside latch in order to prevent an accidental release.  

Category 9: CSR / Sustainability
Company: Joh’s Stübben GmbH
Product: True Nature
The new Sustainability category went to a product that’s sustainable from several perspectives. The True Nature dressage saddle is made from high-quality olive leather. The tannin for the leather comes from the leaves of olive trees, which would otherwise simply fall to the ground and be burned during harvest. Beyond just offering a top-quality, ecologically sensible leather product, Stübben thus also helps to solve an environmental problem in olive-producing countries.
Category 10: Special Jury Award
Company: Viebrockhallen GmbH
Product: A nebuliser for the stable
The Special Award provides a way for the jury to honour pioneering, ultra-innovative products. The prize this year goes to the dust and insect nebuliser by Viebrockreithallen. By binding dust and repelling insects, the nebuliser solves a problem that plagues lots of stables. Users can choose to run the system automatically or control it with the touch of a button via an app. As an added bonus, the technology also cools the horse stable.     

About the EQUITANA Innovation Award
The EQUITANA Innovation Award recognises new, creative and useful product developments that make everyday life easier for horse owners, riders and breeders. A jury composed of eight experts from real-world operations, science and the trade media is tasked with selecting the nominees and winners. Jury members include the horse-feeding expert Dr. Christa Finkler-Schade; Georg Fink, an officially appointed and sworn expert for riding facilities and stable construction; and Professor Dr. Dirk Winter, professor for Equine Management at Nuertingen-Geislingen University (HfWU). Veterinarian Dr. med. vet. Josef Hollerrieder; Sabine Gregg, editor at Reiter Revue; and St. Georg editor-in-chief Jan Tönjes will join them on the jury. Completing the team are the two consultants Christian Fendt and Uwe Karow.

Complete Press Release and pictures at
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Dr. Mike Seidensticker
Christian Reiß

Olesja Kehler

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