Equine Entrepreneurship: EquiMute Improving Trailering Experiences
Many horse owners have experienced the sensitivity of horses – sudden movements can catch even the quietest horse by surprise, the smallest fly can result in explosions and running, and loud noises can result in sudden jumps or general stress of our equine partners.
Trailering our horses can be a particularly stressful time for them (and us!) As horse owners, we put a lot of effort into trying to decrease the stress and increase the comfort of our horses. Providing access to food and water, roomy boxes, shipping boots and other protective gear, and extra careful driving are just a few of the ways we try to make the ride as comfortable as possible for our horses.
But is there something missing?
EquiMute is a new tool designed to limit noise exposure and stress for horses while traveling.
One component I hadn’t considered nearly enough is the impact of sound on the horses’ comfort of travel. According to this study on sensory abilities in horses, “equine hearing exceeds the highest frequencies that can be heard by humans (33 kHz compared to 20 kHz for humans), indicating that there will be situations where a horse can detect sounds that humans are unable to hear.” Knowing how noisy highway driving can be for us, this raises questions regarding the noise experienced by the horses within travel – potentially even some sounds we cannot hear.
As indicated in the Horse Journal, “Noise is a primary stressor for horses, as it is for most prey animals. Stress increases fatigue, reduces the effectiveness of their immune system, and long-term exposure to stressful situations can cause permanent psychological and physiological damage.” Efforts by trailer manufacturers have been made to limit the impact of noise on the horses’ experience in transit, including limiting metal-to-metal contact within the trailer. However, this does not address the concern of sound from external factors, such as passing trucks, motorcycles, and cars.
EquiMute is an upcoming, patent pending product designed by founder and lifelong equestrian Mary Clair Peairs to address these concerns. After researching sound blocking materials, Peairs created an easy to use bonnet with environmentally friendly sound blocking material to absorb and diminish sounds heard while in transit. Built similarly to a fly mask, EquiMute is a tool to address noise concerns in trailering – or could be a tool in other noisy situations, such as at a show.
Founder Mary Clair Peairs (left) created EquiMute to improve trailering experiences for horses after decades of experience trailering horses with her daughter Emily (right).
Early reports of use with the product suggest that horses are unloading more confidently and calmly than before, which is perfectly in line with Peairs’ goal for the product: to change the way people trailer their horses. “By bringing an awareness to something horses are subjected to, [products can be created] to have a happier horse to accomplish goals or do fun things with – the happier the horse, the better experience for all involved.”
For upcoming announcements, ordering, and contact information, please visit EquiMute’s website.