7 Years Later

The day is August 25th, 2013. Jeffrey Schab and Wade Giles are recharging their batteries after an exciting week at the World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, KY. Little did they know their biggest fear was about to be realized. In the wee hours of the morning, Wade answers a call from his trainer and hears in a somber tone, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but Snoop is gone.”

Snoop was an 8-year old gelding at the top of his game. He had never suffered from colic and he was well cared for at one of Kentucky’s premier training facilities. He was healthy and never considered a high-risk horse. However, tragedy in the form of an epiploic foramen entrapment (EFE) took his short life overnight. An EFE is a rare and extremely painful form of colic that must be identified early.

If the caretakers on site had heard his thrashing. If they did one last night check before shutting off the lights. Ifthey had a camera on him someone was watching. If they had fed two hours earlier that morning. Maybe they could have gotten him to a clinic. Maybe he would still be here today. But it is dangerous to play the game of hindsight and Snoop’s life became bigger than any owner could have dreamed.

Just 17 days after Snoop’s passing, Jeffrey decided enough was enough and he formed Protequus® and began a quest to revolutionize equine healthcare. Years of research and development (R&D) were conducted to study how we can identify novel events and alert owners. A novel event is a small moment in time that is different than before. In the example of the NIGHTWATCH® smart halter™, artificial intelligence learns and adapts over time to a horse’s unique normal biometric and behavior parameters. If biometrics elevate and/or behavior changes, it’s considered a novel event which is then flagged as a possible correlation to acute distress.

Today, 7 years following Snoop’s passing and 7 years into this venture, we reflect. We remember the stories that misty-eyed people at shows have shared with us about a horse they lost to colic. We remember the grueling hours put in by the R&D team who was and remains on the cutting edge of technology. We remember the long days spent on the road sharing the smart halter™ with fellow equestrians. We remember how we excitedly celebrated each new patent, R&D milestone, team member, and industry partner. But most importantly, we remember Snoop. Snoop serves as a powerful inspiration and motivation for the Protequus® team.

However, we cannot keep our eyes on the past. We also look ahead to the future of NIGHTWATCH® and its impact on the equine industry. We think of all the lives that can be saved with the continual improvement of this technology. We think of how this device will serve as a powerful driver in collecting meaningful data on horses so researchers can improve health outcomes. We think of how this technology can be applied to other species and benefit them. We think about how 7 years is just scratching the surface of what lies ahead.

This one is for you, Snoop. May you enjoy your greener pastures and may we honor you in our fight to save horses like you.