Step one in the instruction manual is “accept that this thing is, in fact, real.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you to the FurlongStead 1080:
Give yourself a moment to let this piece of engineering sink in.
Ready to learn more? The FurlongStead company of Newmarket, England describes its overhead-monorail system as truly one-of-a-kind, using only the finest materials and technologies to bring this ultimate exerciser to life. As the video shows, the track is completely customizable for speed and time with horse profiles uploaded to create a specific program for each individual. FurlongStead’s modular design means that each buyer can create their own track–ovals, circles, or loops as shown above. Footing is rubber tile, screened rubber or sand. And as an added bonus, there are 18 color options for walls and roof, meaning that no two monorail systems are (probably) alike.
Now, to my completely bourgeois, working-class equestrian mindset, I’m not totally sure how I feel about this thing. Obviously, the more electronic parts that go into a piece of engineering, the more potential places exist for something to break down. I have a mental image of a monorail system running amok and zipping right along at a million miles an hour, or else coming to a grinding halt. FurlongStead includes multiple sensor systems that communicate not only the horse’s vital signs to the computer but also gauge if there is a change in stride or even a stumble, slowing and shutting down the system to maximize safety. The wall panels can be removed anywhere on the track in case of an emergency requiring a horse to be removed immediately.
The full brochure available on the website is full of tech-speak and some engineering jargon, but it does appear that FurlongStead has considered every possibility for safety and monitoring of the horse. It’s hard to tell if the designers were engineers first and horsemen second, and there doesn’t appear to be any documentation of a monorail system actually in existence yet. But don’t worry–FurlongStead is offering an incentive to hook their first buyer! Purchase your fully-customized system and you’ll get a nice 5% bonus from every additional system that the company sells in the next year.
For the racehorse industry, this system could be a game-changer for conditioning or rehabbing. For the rest of the equestrian world…well, let’s just say I’m not sure this kind of thing is really necessary. (To be fair, it’s not really meant for us, despite what commenters on FurlongStead’s Facebook page believe: “How is the horse to learn how to respect a rider if it’s only put in the hot walker?” “Yes, what a great system. The horse will never learn what leg and hand mean using this!” Really, people?) To investigate the FurlongStead monorail exercise system for yourself, check out their website.
What do you think, Horse Nation? Is it worth the (likely millions of) dollars of investment?
Go riding! (Or watch your horse run around on his monorail if that’s more your speed.)