Technology has become more vital than ever in 2020 — whether it is online schooling, virtual business meetings or videoconferencing with loved ones – young and old alike have relied on technology like never before. It has become paramount for more components of one’s life to be accessible from a laptop or phone. For example, we at Malvern Bank have seen more import placed on our business and personal mobile apps and various online banking tools. This is holding true in the equestrian industry as well. Equestrians are live streaming competitions, doing online entries, and following results online to keep our fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the industry. I came across an interesting mobile app and platform, Competitor Tent, which is not only a way to check your competition scores and results, but also a vehicle to track your improvement and be a part of a virtual community. It seems that just as you can manage your banking on a mobile app, you can now track and manage your equestrian results as well!
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dikran Yapoujian to discuss Competitor Tent and its place in the evolving world of technology in the horse industry.
Thank you very much for taking the time to tell us about Competitor Tent and discuss a bit further. What gave you the idea for Competitor Tent, and why did you think it was important? Please give us a bit of background on your platform.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to have this conversation with you! Having been around horses for nearly 25 years, and involved in competitive equestrian sport for nearly the same amount of time with my competing wife and friends, it’s clear what drives many, if not most of us is passion. Passion for that perfect ride, that flawless test, that double-clear round, that optimal time, that podium finish, and yes, that ribbon – regardless of color, but I suspect, most like blue.
One of the reasons we introduced Competitor Tent was a recognition and understanding that technology enables insights that helps competitors. the equine industry has been slow to adopt new technological advances. Many of the available tools are dated, have been underinvested in, and lack the functionality that is now expected in apps we use everywhere else in our daily lives.
We developed Competitor Tent to provide competitors with a way to evaluate ‘outcomes’, in the form of scores and placements, broken down and stacked up in ways to help determine whether they’re producing the desired results. Our features provide insights on riders’ strengths and highlight opportunities for improvement. So many of us struggle when we reach a plateau, and can’t break through, or don’t recognize an underlying pattern in our riding that is keeping us from progressing. We all strive for higher achievement and to reach it, we need more than passion. We need insights.
Competitor Tent has a multi-faceted platform that provides its users with a myriad of tools. Could you please give an overview of all the functions of CT? Who can benefit from CT?
Competitor Tent was designed by riders, for riders. We interviewed scores of riders, pro and amateur, plus organizers, show secretaries, scoring services, and even federations during the design of the app. We used these inputs to develop a meaningful set of capabilities, and wrapped them in a social network framework designed for collaboration with our friends and rivals, within and across disciplines.
Competitor Tent is a mobile app that helps competitors improve their performance from show to show as measured by improved placements or scores. Competitor Tent provides live scores, scores by level, by judge, and even by movement. It also provides journaling capabilities and training schedules.
One of the best features of Competitor Tent is the ability to easily see all the test scores from a show on the app. Instead of having to click in and out of each class on a website, our riders can easily scroll through the complete list of scores from every competitor of every class in the show, plus the app displays Movement-by-Movement scores. Another fantastic feature that riders love is that they can see all their scores by judge. Riders can easily filter by horse or level and see which judges they performed better under on that particular horse/test.
Riders can receive notifications of when their scores and scores of other competitors they choose to follow post, even if the others aren’t users in the app. Riders can also add their Training Analytics into the program by keeping track of their training activities on a daily/weekly basis.
I have to say, I love the name Competitor Tent. Some of my fondest memories as a professional were quite literally in the competitor tent at some of the top horse shows— talking shop with my trainers, fellow riders, owners. Can you speak to the aspect of community Competitor Tent brings to its users?
We wanted to bring a sense of community to Competitor Tent so that we can keep up with our friends, and their competitive journeys. Riders can post social, training or competition posts to their activity feed, as private for their own benefit, or public to their network within the Competitor Tent community with the features you’d expect in a social network (likes, comments, photos, inspiration and collaboration) without the noise of what you see on mainstream platforms.
With the new COVID-19 restrictions limiting attendance and in-person interaction at competitions, how important is this “virtual” community? How can we build on this as equestrians?
First, I have to say how blessed we are as a rider community. When the pandemic hit, our first response collectively seemed to be, how can we help the people most affected by this in our industry – those whose livelihood is all about competing. The trainers, grooms, judges, secretaries, organizers. Our riders responded to this challenge by participating in our virtual dressage series this year, where we brought 4* FEI judges to score riders who participated virtually, and we raised funds for the Equestrian Aid Foundation, and then extended our giving program for the benefit of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance with our “Trot for Teal” series. What we found is there is definitely an interest in virtual showing, and that trend will likely continue. We’re seeing this more and more, and not just in dressage, but in hunter / jumper, combined tests, plus western disciplines as well.
We at Malvern Bank have always prided ourselves on our high-touch customer service— in-person, one-on-one interaction with our clients whenever possible. However, in light of the new times, we have supplemented our in-person customer service with technology as well. Our current business and personal mobile apps and various online banking tools have become more vital components of our service, as they have allowed us to continue providing our services with just a few clicks of a button. Can you speak to the changing times and the role you see technology like apps and online services playing in day-to-day lives? Do you envision this being a long-term way of life?
Financial services are a relationship business. The tools and capabilities we’re seeing in the financial industry are a way to support and enhance the experience for the client.
Similarly, we at Competitor Tent strive to have technology support and enhance the competing experience. Technology won’t replace the many people that help to successfully run a show or an equestrian business, but our app will be another tool in the toolbox to enhance performance and drive a better outcome.
Who will utilize Competitor Tent the most?
We currently have riders of all ages, in a number of disciplines, and at all levels of competition. We expect those that find the value of the insights they glean to help them break-through their plateaus to use the app the most. In any given discipline, the majority of riders compete at the foundational levels of a pyramid. It’s those young riders and adult amateurs that we want to help. Our app is for the rider that is looking to achieve their competing goals, whatever their current level of performance.
We’re proud that we’ve started building relationships with people and groups that are really serious about the sport and believe in what we’re doing for the sport from dressage’s Lendon Gray to eventing’s Sinead Halpin. People seem to really dig what we’re doing, and we’re tremendously excited about that, and that inspires us.
What’s really interesting is that everyone’s experience is truly unique. Some have told us they really love the collaboration features, while others really like the journaling capabilities. One of the features we constantly get great feedback on is our results by judge, as riders can shape their competing schedule for the coming season.
Others love that we calculate their average and best movement scores. Some (okay nearly all) love the guilty pleasure of scrolling results to see how their rivals did at their shows; and some say their favorite is to check the virtual tack trunks of their friends to see what products they uploaded or what brand their friend’s show coat was at the last show so they can buy a similar coat.
If you’d like to become part of the Competitor Tent community, click here to download the free app.
We hope you enjoyed this spotlight on Competitor Tent as we discussed technology in daily life. Start the conversation with a Malvern Bank representative to discuss how we can help you with your day-to-day banking needs through our various mobile and online banking tools.