Course walks: there’s an app for that

Since I’ve recently been doing a lot of internet stalking trying to find as much info as possible about the local XC courses, I’ve stumbled across a couple of phone apps. First is Course Walk, which has an online counterpart at http://en.mycoursewalk.com/.

iPhone Screenshot 1

iPhone Screenshot 3

You can do showjumping courses too!

iPhone Screenshot 5

Maybe it’s just because I’m a nerd and back when I evented the first time all you got was a piece of paper and maybe one of those god awful yellow wheel thingies to figure out your course and pace, but I’m super intrigued. When you walk your course you open the app, it tracks you via GPS, you can take pics of the jumps along the way if you want to, and in the end it’ll figure out minute markers for you (no math = better life). Plus you have your whole course right there on your phone, which is very appealing to someone super visual like me who memorizes by sight. You can also choose to share the course, which makes it available for viewing online by anyone. GREAT for getting an idea of what each course looks like.

Oooo shiny metrics

Here are what they list as the main features of the Course Walk app:

• Recording the course track and distance in meters
• Identifying minute markers – NEVER wheel your course again and improve your ability to meet optimum time!
• Take photos of fences and mark the location of compulsory flags
• Fence and photo galleries for easy viewing of the pictures
• Play function retraces the entire course, displaying the fences as you go
• Share your course on MyCourseWalk.Com
• Download courses from MyCourseWalk.Com onto your phone.
• Event Organizers can print course maps off of MyCourseWalk.com
• Conveniently links to Eventing Dressage tests and Live Scoring
• Auto correction of minute marker position if optimal time is given
• Elevation profile displays the terrain along the course with minute markers and fences
• Uphill, flat, and downhill slopes can be shown in different colors on the map
• No cellphone reception or data connection required to record and view course walks

The other app, Cross Country, seems pretty similar.

iPhone Screenshot 2

iPhone Screenshot 1

Same general idea, slightly different execution. On this one I like that you can add notes about each fence if you want, and from what I can see it seems to have a little bit “prettier” interface. The big negative to this one IMO is that you can’t view recorded courses online – only on the app. Which means you can’t view them unless you’ve bought the app (either the full version or the Lite version). I haven’t bought the app, so I can’t see what they actually look like once they’re recorded. That’s a bummer. Here’s the description of features for Cross Country:

• Record and measure the course
• Photograph jumps, video lines, record voice and striding
• Automatic minute markers and reminders
• Email courses
• Pre-recorded courses and guided course walks from around the world

You don’t need cell reception or internet for that one either.

No shiny metrics to be found for this one, but they do have hats. I like hats.

Course Walk is $9.99 right now and Cross Country is $8.99, so both are at basically the same price point. Does anyone have either of these apps? The geek in me is tempted to get them both and compare them head to head, but the tightwad in me screams in protest. So to start with I bought Course Walk because it just seemed to have a few more useful features for me (plus a bunch of features that are awesome but I will never use – like horse heart rate). Wish they both offered a trial! What do you think of using tools like this instead of doing it the old fashioned way?

23 thoughts on “Course walks: there’s an app for that

  1. I don’t really know all that much about XC except from when I’ve jump judged, but both of these apps seem really easy to use, and it’s much better than walking a course with a piece of paper. I think it’s cool that you can use the app to do your stadium round as well!

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  2. I heart technology! Instead of paying for the apps, contact the companies and tell them you’re a blogger and you’d like them to comp you and you’ll review them? Might not hurt to try? If no one in blogging world has heard of these before (I haven’t-but I’m only one person) they obviously have an untapped (huge) market and you’d think they’d want the PR.

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    1. Excellent idea! Although generally the first time I try a product I prefer to buy it myself, so that there’s no question about the validity of my review. We’ll see how Course Walk works for me!

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  3. I have Course Walk and I love it! I use it for all my events.

    I had some problems with the app crashing in the beginning and their service team was incredibly quick and helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The horse trial I participated in 2 weeks ago posted all of their courses on Course Walk and I LOVED it. I’m a super visual person too and it was outstanding to have pictures of the actual jumps out on course to help me memorize it.

    Granted, this one was only my second trial but the first trial utilized a hand drawn map and I got crazy confused, went off course and got eliminated. I’m sure show nerves factored in there along with a slightly more difficult course design but I still felt like I grasped the Course Walk layout way faster than the hand drawn one.

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  5. I want to love these, but as an avid runner who uses her phone GPS for all of her distance runs, I don’t have a lot of trust in phone GPS accuracy. Any word on that? I would hate to find someone get out on course and be a quarter mile off in their time markers!

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    1. All the ones I’ve looked up for local courses (a couple dozen) have looked really good. Of course, there’s no way to know how many failures there were vs successes. It was hard to find a whole lot of reviews for either app but most were positive in that regard. I guess I’ll find out!

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  6. Seems like most of the places I’ve evented have pretty poor reception, and GPS locating is iffy, especially if you’re in the trees. Not sure I’d trust it over a sheet of paper and my own two feet, lol! I really like to walk my course at least 3 times so I know the turns, the angles, the setup for each fence (and my options) by heart, so I don’t have to think about it when I’m out there on course. It might be handy as a second option, though.

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    1. It must work pretty well at MCP and Pine Hill and Texas Rose, because there’s lots of courses from there online. Whether or not you have cell reception doesn’t matter, it’s just GPS. I don’t think it’s a substitute for multiple walks (although it might cut out one) but I’m interested to try it out so that I have something to study back at the barn before I go, or to have something to reference if I forget something.

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    1. Once I use it a little I’ll review it. I hate paying for apps too, but I figure $10 for an app versus a $90 meter wheel (without all the other cool features) was a fair trade if it ends up being a useful tool. Plus being able to upload them for viewing online is neat… I’m nerdy enough to pay $10 for neat.

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  7. these are pretty awesome, and the nerd in me LOVES them. i was pretty low-tech at my first couple HTs – walking with the paper map and snapping pics with my iphone. but can definitely see the appeal of these apps, esp if your division is timed (mine weren’t). i wouldn’t rely 100% on the gps tho – definitely double check against how many meters the organizers say the course is, etc

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  8. Yeah, I just can’t pay for apps. Meter wheels you can get used for cheap (or borrow a friend’s) and then you know your minute markers’ exact location as you walk.

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