The Tech Equestrian reached out to Ekinox business partner, Nick Rolle, who is based in Barcelona to find out the key drivers that led to the development of his company’s exciting state-of-the-art technology designed to aid in both equine competitive performance and recovery.
Q. How did you come up with the concept for Ekinox?
A. It all started when my business partner, Fran Ramirez who is a physiotherapist using EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation) in rehab and high-performance training with both amateur and professional athletes was working with a patient who inquired about using it on horses. The jockey who had a shoulder injury, experienced the positive results from EMS therapy asked Fran if it was possible to use the same technology for horses. This became the start of Fran investigating the possibilities that EMS could offer to equines.
Q. What were the first trials for Ekinox?
A. We began to work with a horse with weakness and atrophy in the gluteus and in one month of application, twice a week, we got the gait to improve and increased the hypertrophy in the treated area. During that period, we did find difficulties in its application, but since then, we have been working to solve the different handicaps. Those include, adapted programs to horses, comfortable EMS for the horse, control of the apparatus, programs at a suitable distance for the safety of both the animal and professional, optimizing the training time, and rehabilitation in movement which offers more positive results than inactivity.
“We achieved positive results due to a lot of work from professionals that collaborated on the development of programs, that are necessary for high performance and equine therapy.”
Q. Who is on your team?
A. Ekinox includes myself and my business partners: Fran Ramirez and Dani Solà. Fran, as a physio oversees the biomechanics functionalities of Ekinox One Solution, product development and management of providers. Dani along with Fran is in charge of the product development and national sales development. I manage the international business development and marketing.
Q. Describe the R&D process.
A. The first step was to ensure the therapeutic and sports viability with EMS, which led us to collect scientific studies on rehab/recovery therapy and performance. Once all the studies pointed to the reliability of the method we began to work on biomechanics and anatomy. In addition, we gathered data on requirements and recommendations of veterinarians, physiotherapists and riders. Based on the feedback and studies, we developed the textile pattern, the fabric, placement of the electrodes and specific programs to help with the tolerance and adaptation of the horse.
We have worked with 15 horses, the clear majority of which are horses competing in Eventing. We have seen a positive evolution of proprioception, attention, a more vigorous attitude, improved endurance to effort, and improved muscle hypertrophy.
Our plan is to begin collaboration on a rehabilitation study with Ekinox One and improvements in the biomechanics of walking in dressage and jumping horses.
Q. Tell us about the product and the technology behind it.
A. The components of Ekinox One are the following:
EkiSuit: The skin of Ekinox One. The suit trains the most relevant muscular packages, making them exercise three times more than a traditional workout. It adapts perfectly to the horse’s body obtaining a seamless and continuous stimulation. The variety of sizes allows to fit it to any “Ekino Athlete” while the bi-elastic fabric makes EkiSuit feel like a second skin. Comfortable and with total freedom of movement, it even grants training sessions to be performed with the rider in the saddle. We do recommend waiting for the horse to adapt to the EMS as normal practice so it can relate it to a good experience prior to mounting – ideally taking two months of adaptation to the EMS.
EkiBox: The core of Ekinox One. The terminal in charge of executing the orders with the necessary power to give your “Ekino Athlete” the appropriate stimuli during the whole training session. With an autonomy of 10 hours of impulses for the equine EMS training of the future, EkiBox is supplying the EkiSuit with a variation of programs designed for all types of needs. It adapts to the EkiSuit with velcro fasteners. Comfortable in feeling, and freedom of movement.
EkiBrain: The brain of Ekinox One. The control display that gives the flexibility to work with 12 predefined programs that cover the needs of a performance workout and rehab therapy. In addition, EkiBrain offers the option of “Free Muscle” allowing the most experienced professionals to tailor their programs workout and therapy sessions with total freedom. Programs are designed to offer a safe and comfortable stimulus, with the goal of achieving the best results in the different equine sport disciplines along with recovery and rehab.
Q. What is the optimal training time to use Ekisuit?
A. Thirty minutes, 3 times per week
Q. Is Ekinox One available?
A. We’re currently in the pre-sales phase and the final product should be released in May/June 2018.
Q. Who is your target market?
A. Our aim is to help owners, breeders, trainers, caregivers, physiotherapists and veterinarians to achieve results through a wide variety of programs that can provide better muscle quality, competitive performance and recovery which will ultimately extend the horses’ competitive life.
Q. What type of support & training can someone expect when they purchase the product?
A. First of all, I’d like to emphasize that Ekinox is an innovative product and for those who buy the product they will have three days of training which will explain the basics of EMS, the programs available on Ekinox One, advice on training and different uses that can be applied in rehabilitation. In addition, our customers will have access to training videos that will cover methodology and rehabilitation.
Q. What have been some of the journey highlights from concept to creation to market?
A. After two and a half years of fieldwork, Ekinox has passed the first prototype phases and its effectiveness has been validated in horses with different needs. We have carried out exclusive programs to improve their physical capacities, their recovery after an injury and in general improve their quality of life and wellbeing. Within two months of the brand and product disclosure we have had a lot of interest and traction from the equestrian market.
Q. As a tech equestrian, why can’t you live without this product?
A. We must take advantage of everything that technology offers to improve the quality of life of our horse and improve its performance.
“Horses do not have the variety in training as human athletes do; which include weights, plyometrics, proprioception, and eccentric work … but now they will, thanks to Ekinox One.”
This new product can help reduce the overuse of the joints and tendons, and the risk of injuries. We can offer a diverse wide range of possibilities with the global active EMS. Increasing horse performance is possible with Ekinox One.