Students saddle up to learn how to ride Scotland’s first robot horse

Students at Scotland’s Rural College have saddled up to learn how to use Scotland’s first robot horse. 

SRC has unveiled a new £100k state-of-the-art robot horse, the first of its kind in Scotland, which allows riders to enjoy real life experiences. 

The Equestrian Eventing Simulator has been named RoboCob by students in West Lothian who have been honing their riding skills on the machine, which stays in one place but rocks in different directions.

The robot can do Grand Prix dressage movements, such as Piaffe and Passage, jumping grid work and negotiate technical combinations on the cross-country course.

Thanks to its motion control technology, it can replicate jumps of up to 1.20m high and comes with three screens which provide real-time and printable feedback.

‘It’s really realistic but it’s probably a lot more forgiving,’ said HND Equine Studies Student Eilidh Simmons.

‘It doesn’t move unless you’ve got your balance right so it’s good for improving your accuracy.’

The simulator, which can be used by novices and technical riders, is the latest addition to a suite of technological innovations being used in the teaching of Horse Care and Equine Studies at SRUC.

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

Programme Leader Louise Bulmer added: ‘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.’