Levade is a classical show-ring movement in which a horse raises the forequarters, brings the hindquarters under him, and balances with haunches deeply bent and forelegs drawn up.
It’s rarely achieved, according to Lilian Reinfels, co-founder of Levade, an equestrian training app launched in September.
“Levade is a link between coach, rider and horse owner,” Reinfels says.
“It’s not a gadget, it’s a training tool. Every coach uses their own training methods. This is not a means to amend their training but to help in their training method.”
The mobile app allows coaches to record comments and corrections during each lesson by simply pressing and holding the microphone button – speech turning into text.
Photos and short video clips are embedded along with comments from the coach.
At the end of each lesson, all information is automatically transferred to the student’s and horse owner’s phone allowing them to read, review and analyze each lesson.
Information can be accessed any time after the lesson, allowing the coach to track progress, build their log and to teach and practise more precisely.
“This app allows coaches to be more accountable and helps their coaching to be more in depth and concentrated,” Reinfels says.
“The most important thing about this app is that you don’t forget things anymore. You have it right there in front of you, allowing you to focus on areas that need improvement. Also, it’s important to know that there is often such a disconnect between ‘how it feels’ for the rider and how it really looks. You might think you are sitting straight, but really you aren’t. With this, we are creating a connection, to bring body awareness with modern technology and to bring it to where it should be.”
Her husband Alex has been a horse trainer and instructor for many years which is what brought he and his wife together in Germany.
“He’s so dedicated to the education of riders and his students,” Reinfels says. “He was my coach and 36 years later, we are still together. We came to Canada and Alex started teaching. It was horses that brought us together.”
In days gone by, he had only a camera in hand, but with the rise of the smart phone, Alex saw it as an ideal opportunity to really help people.
“Lots of verbal information gets lost during a lesson, so this is when the smartphone idea came to be. Students receive feedback and they can’t forget it because they have it right in front of them,” Reinfels said.
“We did all of this with help from the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo. They have great mentors and programs including the AC JumpStart program. We launched last September at the World Equestrian Games in Tyron, North Carolina. We had great feedback and people were really amazed with the idea,” Reinfels says.
Levade currently has worldwide downloads from users all over including Australia and Germany.
“We are currently on Facebook and Instagram and we are always looking for more users and investors. It’s still new, but we are very happy with the feedback so far,” Reinfels said.
The app is available for download with a 30 day free trial period, and if you choose to continue, the cost is $12.99 a month or $129.99 a year.
The app is available in English and German.
“We also attend clinics and horse shows and we sponsor classes,” Reinfels says. “We try to cover all bases and all disciplines including ‘western’, not only equestrian. We hope to expand this in our next version, to include all disciplines.”
Levade allows coaches to build profiles for all riders and horses and there is no restriction on the size of one team.
Riders and owners can have personalized information including health notes on a horse, training tips, keywords, pictures and video clips all at their fingertips.
“Only the coach, horse owner and rider have access. It’s a triangle and only they are linked,” Reinfels says.
“This is also a great way for horse owners to be involved. They can see what their rider was doing during each lesson. And for the coach, its so useful when planning lessons. They can read a synopsis on the student and the student knows that they must be prepared so their training is more precise and effective.”
For Reinfels, it really is about bringing technology together with a traditional sport.
“It’s a value to coaches and students are really getting into it and look forward to reading their notes. It’s a traditional sport and we know this is a game changer, but people who have adopted it, love it,” she said.
In the future, the hope is to expand the app to include riding schools rather than just one on one instruction.
“This is what it’s all about – education. Alex is an incredible horseman, coach and instructor and he wants to give back,” Reinfels said.
“We believe in this. We have made a life of it and we want to help and educate young people.”
For more information regarding Levade, visit www.Levade.io