It’s no secret that the equestrian world is more concerned with riding horses than the latest tech-wave. In an industry where so many professionals cross paths on a daily basis, record keeping becomes a tedious, often overlooked task. The lack of industry-specific technology options means many businesses are still in the days of pen and paper, resulting in billing inefficiencies and, ultimately, loss of income.
Enter Lucy Davis and Lindsay Douglass, both avid horsewomen (yes, THAT Lucy Davis from the Rio Olympics) and Stanford graduates. As students, both women kept horses at Stanford University’s on site stable, The Red Barn, and noticed months-old, hand-scribbled invoices strewn around the stable yet to be paid. “We kind of looked at each other and said this just has to be better,” says Davis of the accounting debacle.
The women, both pursuing engineering degrees – Douglass in design and Davis in architecture – began brainstorming how they could streamline the record keeping, invoicing, and stable management systems for equine professionals. “We initially did a lot of research while competing on the winter west circuit, talking with various professionals about their needs and it all kind of circled back to this invoicing idea. The industry is very inefficient in terms of invoicing so we decided to tackle that issue,” said Davis.
Their initial research began a two-year process of development, launched in Stanford’s illustrious Capstone program – also the birthplace of Snapchat. “We got a lot of great resources from the school. Advisors helped us with the basics of starting a company, incorporating, fundraising, and research,” says Davis of the Capstone program. After the initial research phase, Douglass and Davis began some design work themselves and started fundraising, eventually hiring a Chicago-based firm to engineer and develop the app.
“At the end of 2016 we came out with a Beta version,” said Davis, “we tested that with a lot of stables around Wellington and a few in California. We then did more tweaking and iterating based on the feedback we received and finally felt we were in a place to launch our first version.”
The launch party took place earlier this month at Two Swans Farm in Wellington where the equestrian glitterati came out to celebrate the app’s launch, though Davis is quick to say her work isn’t done. “We’re excited about the first version but we know we can improve. We want to continue getting feedback from barns, professionals, owners, and others so we can continue to design for the industry.”
The app itself is useful for the full spectrum of equine enthusiasts – whether you have a single horse, multiple stables, or no horse at all but work in the industry. PonyApp enables users to profile each horse in their stable with a full range of biographical information and enables users to keep track of their horses no matter where they are.
“It’s not an app for any one specific role. The roles are often overlapping in this industry which is what makes it difficult to have a single platform for everyone,” says Davis. “We tried to incorporate everybody – professionals, young riders, old riders, farriers, vets – everyone. We want to create a network for people to stay more connected and have their businesses be more efficient. On the professional side, you can invoice directly through the app and get paid instantly. On the owner/client side by having all your information handy, you can be more involved with your horses’ daily care. Everything can be streamlined through the app and you have a record of all those expenses that’s very detailed and categorized. The app does a lot of that for you once you get set up it’s pretty intuitive.”
PonyApp also features a Spotlight feed with news, results, and videos from the equestrian community. Perhaps the best news of all: PonyApp is free. There’s really no excuse not to try it!
By Ashley Fairfield-Remeza
*All photos courtesy of Lucy Davis & Lindsay Douglass.