Riding in the dark is dangerous. That’s why car drivers rely on lights to let other people know they’re around. Even cyclists and joggers use LED pads or reflectors to avoid getting hit by fast-moving vehicles. Horses enthusiasts, on the other hand, have it bad. Because horses make unexpected movements, a regular shiny construction vest simply isn’t enough to deter accidents after sunset. And if you think horses don’t have a night life, they do. Police in rural areas rely on their four-legged buddies to patrol inaccessible roads and paths where cars are unusable. Some trainers also like to take their horses out for a stroll at night, when the conditions are cooler and more relaxing.
Surprisingly, horse owners have very few options to keep their pets well accounted for during this time. One of the best solutions that surfaced only recently is the Tail Lights Rider Safety System. Created by Tail Lights, a Michigan-based equestrian technology startup, the device uses strings of LEDs to mimic natural horse tail strands.
“After my horse and my friend (who was riding) were hit by a car, I vowed to make the best lighting safety system that was fun, beautiful, durable and most of all visible,” said Sami Gros, CEO and founder of Tail Lights. “I first created the Tail Lights PRO unit which is currently being used and/or tested by eight Mounted Patrol units in Canada and the United States. After seeing the success of this product, I decided to make a smaller, more consumer version that was just as beautiful, but at a more affordable price.”
The contraption attaches to the base of the tail for maximum security. This does not hurt the animal in any way due to the padding around the wrap and the soft Velcro material. When in use, the lights have a running time of nine hours with a charging time of roughly four. Engineers installed a two light system that adds 360-degree visibility to the lights. Since the bulbs use LED technology, owners will never have to worry about overheating or burning.
The lights are controlled using a small, wireless remote. Through the handheld piece, individuals can toggle brightness settings (low, med and high), as well as color choices (red, blue, yellow, green, pink and white). The most intriguing feature is the display of light patterns. When approaching roads, you could have it set to steady on, but when you’re lounging around the hills, a slow fade or strobe could be more appealing.
Early adopters can order the gadget through the company’s Kickstarter campaign. All of the early bird packages are gone, but you can still get one for $155 (normally $275). The Tail Lights Rider System comes with a front unit, tail light, tail wrap and remote. There is also an option for bulk purchases under the Barn Pack tier. “We have a very aggressive time frame to get these out to the public for Christmas, and we plan on ramping up production as soon as our goal is met,” clarified Gros.