A college has revealed their new £100k ‘robot horse’ simulator to train equestrian students – the first of its kind in Scotland.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) provided the simulator to allow novice and experienced students alike to experience and practice multiple kinds of equestrian events – from dressage to cross country.

The Equestrian Eventing Simulator has been nicknamed RoboCob by students of the Horse and Care Equine Studies department and can provide real-time feedback to students.

The simulator uses motion control technology, replicating jumps of up to 1.20m high – and has already proved popular with SRUC students.

The Herald:

Eilidh Simmonds, a HND Equine Studies student at the college said: “It’s really realistic, but it’s probably a lot more forgiving. It doesn’t move unless you’ve got your balance right so it’s good for improving your accuracy.”

The technology is the latest in a series of upgrades being added to the Horse Care and Equine Studies department, after the institution was shortlisted for both a Times Higher Education Award and a Herald Higher Education Innovative Use of Technology Award for their use of robotic cameras to track riders’ movements, and biomechanical jackets to measure their posture.

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Mary Thomson, Vice Principal of Skills and Lifelong Learning at SRUC, said: “This is part of our innovative approach to teaching and learning, finding modern digital solutions to deliver active blended learning.”

Programme Leader Louise Bulmer said: “We are delighted with our new Racewood Eventing Simulator, the first of its kind in Scotland.

“It’s a fantastic learning resource for our students and a great addition to our outstanding equestrian facilities.

"The simulator will help improve rider performance and safety and thereby contribute to improving horse welfare.

“We also look forward to the simulator being used by equine industry groups and as a way to increase access to the equestrian industry.”