ELITE equestrian teams representing Britain are being assisted by cockpit technology developed in East Lancashire.

Horses used by the national showjumping squad are just as susceptible to the perils of motion sickness and jet lag as their human riders when competing abroad.

But UK Sport has been able to call upon monitoring equipment adapted by BAE, at its aerodromes in Samlesbury and Warton, using techniques which are usually deployed in their Typhoon aircraft.

The Equus-Sense unit has been engineered for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and is designed to assist horses overcome the effects of long-haul flights.

Using the advanced sensors which keep an eye on cockpit conditions for fighter pilots in the Typhoon, the system covers sounds, temperatures, vibrations, humidity, dust levels and oxygen rates.

This allows trainers and athletes to closely check the environmental conditions for horses travelling to international events, according to BAE experts.

Henry White, UK Sport partnership lead at BAE, said: “When it comes to elite sport, marginal gains can help leverage a real competitive advantage – and that preparation begins before competitors reach their competition.

“We develop aircraft and equipment-monitoring technology which helps ensure our fighter pilots are as comfortable as possible to enable them to realise their incredible skills and there is no reason why horses cannot benefit from this.

“Applying such technology to horse transportation had its challenges but our expert engineers have developed such a system allowing the equestrian competitors to benefit and help gain an advantage.”

John McEwen, the BEF’s equine sports science and medicine director, said: “This has been a valuable project that has improved elite horse transport.

“This is an area that can have a major performance effect and we are grateful to BAE Systems for their scientific support.

“Small marginal gains are very important to us, to provide maximal performance, and the travel environment is critical to this.

“The improvements made will ensure the highest level of welfare for our elite horses and ensure that they travel first class.”

The technology can be alerted so that it works in any travelling accommodation for the horses, logging conditions in real-time for trainers and their riders.

Such work has been co-ordinated by the Performance Innovation team from the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Naomi Stenhouse, the EIS performance head, said: “We were approached by the BEF, which was keen to optimise the travel environment for its horses.

“So through our long-standing partnership with BAE Systems we have been able to broker a relationship which deploys technology developed by the company to address a wide range of issues and help ensure the horses arrive at competitions in a peak state of health and fitness.

“The project is a great example of how our partnership with BAE provides added value by enabling sports and national governing bodies to access third-party technology and engineering expertise that can help to deliver performance benefits.”

Back in 2017, BAE and UK Sports signed off on a four-year engineering partnership deal, valued at around £600,000.

Engineers and sports scientists from the two bodies at the EIS have worked together in some way or other since 2009 though, assisting an estimated 250 athletes across 30 separate Olympic and Paralympic disciplines to excel.