GPS tracking watches for riding?

Since we are a conditioning-oriented people in eventing land, does anyone ride with a GPS watch? I have used phone apps, but it is hard to gallop a horse in gloves and whip out your phone to check where you are in terms of distance covered. I also hike a lot, but I’m sure finding a GPS watch for hiking is easy. I would be happy to track heart rate, or not, but absolutely no chest-strap heart rate monitors wanted.

There are lots of iwatch apps that use with your iphone. As long as your iphone is on your person somewhere, your watch app can work and track for you easily without having to handle your phone, and you can keep checking what the numbers are on your watch. I will check the actual name of that app and get back to you.

I simply use google maps or such at home, measure the distances in my gallop areas. All I need is a regular watch to track my conditioning. D=R*T. Intermediate times are done using landmarks.

Lots of brands of gps watches out there in different t price points. Polar and garmin are 2 of the biggest ones. I would go check out your local running store and they should have a few options.


I use my Garmin watch for both conditioning and competing when I’m at combined driving events - it’s not really necessary for a 4 minute XC ride and the buttons are small. But it’s great for tracking conditioning. I had a Garmin Forerunner 10 which was pretty basic, and when it died, I got a 25 for even less money. It’s pink, but it was $75…

I downloaded the Equilab app and find it very helpful. Tracks distance, pace and even right/left turn distributions. Allows you to track worksouts by horse and share with friends. I’m really enjoying it, especially when rehabbing and wanting to accurately track progress. Works on iPhone and watch so helpful and portable.

So did the Garmin watch have a setting for riding? I just want it to track accurately.

Can’t use Google maps without it being a huge pain as I’m always conditioning somewhere different on all sorts of squiggly paths.

I use a Garmin Forerunner 35 and a close friend uses a Garmin Forerunner 310XT. I use mine primarily on conditioning rides for endurance and my friend mostly uses hers conditioning her driving horse for CDEs. My 35 has heart rate sensors in the watch to track my heart rate, although I plan on buying an adapter kit that will allow me to see my horse’s heart rate. It’s super useful to be able to glance at my wrist at any time while riding to see the distance covered, time elapsed, and current speed. I also love that all my rides are synced to the Garmin Connect app.

​There isn’t a setting for riding horses, so I just choose cycling for all of my rides. Since it’s just tracking data, it’s no big deal to me that the watch says I’m riding a bike and not a horse.

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There isn’t a setting for riding - it just tracks where you went and at what pace. You can opt between miles and km. Sometimes I sync it to the website so I can see the map of where I went and it’s pretty accurate - I once made a 10 foot detour off the road to pick up some trash in the woods and it showed a little squiggley loop at that spot. But usually I just check afterwards to see what my pace was per km. Same way I use it when I go running And half the time I forget to turn it off at the end of my ride so it captures me piddling around the barn for half an hour.

When I first got it I would test the accuracy by driving the routes I rode in my car and checking the odometer, and also running 5k races where they have timers. It’s accurate. Occasionally it won’t click into the GPS if it is a really cloudy day and you are under some trees. It’s very fun to see that your gallopy part of the ride was 25mph. :slight_smile:

The one thing the Forerunner 25 does is track steps if you tell it to. This is WILDLY inaccurate for riding. Because it’s based on your arm movement of walking, you do a lot more moving with the horse and you’ll clock in 14,000 steps in 45 minutes… It doesn’t move at all when I drive the pony, though.

Does anyone use the Apple Watch?

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Although this thread is old, I have an apple watch, was excited to use it for GPS, but it doesn’t work with the Equilab app unless you have your phone on you. Defeats the purpose of riding with just your watch. I purchased this watch for the fall protection, since I ride alone a lot. I wanted the added perk of GPS tracking my rides, but alas it does not, at least that I know of.

I have the same experience. Got an Apple Watch so that I can leave my phone at home and still have GPS tracking and it doesn’t do the job. Disappointing. If someone has a solution, would love to hear it.

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I use the Garmin Venu, though the connect app I found a horseback riding option. It has a timer, rider heart rate, distance and speed and is fairly simple to use. I can use it without my phone, but using the phone afterwards to view more in depth data is helful.

For those with Apple watches, are they the cellular version or wifi only?

My Garmin can track GPS on its own but for “Incident Detection” it needs a phone nearby to connect to and alert my emergency contact so I still carry my phone with me all the time, just tucked away somewhere on me.

I have cellular on mine.

I also got an Apple Watch for the purposes of ride tracking. Mine is cellular and it wont work unless the phone is in range. Huge bummer for sure.

I too have cellular.

I haven’t been on COTH in a while, but since my own old thread is getting replies, I got back on! I now have a Fitbit Charge 4 and it comes up with a decent GPS map. It also seems to track riding fine in ‘outdoor activity’ mode, though I do find it annoying that there is no ‘always on’ mode so it doesn’t always show me how many miles I’ve gone galloping.