We have probably all experienced that moment where you arrive at the yard in the morning to find the state of the stable closely resembles an episode of Homes Under the Hammer and you wonder what your horse has been doing at night, did they have friends over?
On a more serious note, I have had times where I have arrived at the stables in the morning, pulled Bodie out to find that she is hopping lame, or the night she had colic and I stayed up with her playing the colic waiting game. There are kick marks all across the wall in my stable, sometimes there is evidence that she has laid down, sometimes the content of the stable have been rearranged over night or sometimes I have woken up to cuts and scratches on her legs.
I decided to buy a camera for my stable, more out of curiosity rather than anything. I know that she struggles when she is sleeping, she doesn't lie down and I can only presume the holes in the wall are from where she has stumbled mid-narcolepsy. I figured knowledge is powerful and if I know where to pad out in her stable, then I could potentially soften the blow for her.
What I was looking for:
Wifi Enabled (I would need to buy a wifi battery powered router) or 3G/4G enabled
Live feed (in case of colic)
Long lasting charge
Cloud storage of recordings
Night vision - a must
I came across the Arlo Go and it ticked my checklist.
I got my Arlo Go from Very with 0% finance option for 9 months, they are also sold on Amazon etc. I had to get a sim card with data on, which I am currently paying £10 a month for on a Pay As You Go basis with O2, however I am going to switch this to a contract SIM only deal as there are plenty out there that offer loads of data for relatively little cost, I just want to run it for a couple of months to see how much data I am using. One tip on this is to check the network coverage in the area that the yard is. You can check this through Googling 'mobile network coverage'.
I set up the Arlo Go, which in fairness was easier than setting up the SIM card with O2! Plug and play. I've popped the camera in the stable so that I can view over her bed and her feed buckets. The Arlo Go connects to an app and the app is what makes this camera so good. I can access live feed, I can check the battery status (I might purchase another battery and a charging station just for ease of use, alternatively there is the option of purchasing a solar panel). It shows you how much signal strength the camera has and the number of notifications that have been detected from the motion sensor.
Over and above that the app offers timed scheduling when the camera is armed and disarmed. I only want to record at night as the horses are generally out during the day, this is a brilliant battery saving feature, you can select times in the day. You can have multiple cameras linked to the same account, there is a two-way microphone built in, but I'm not sure Bodie needs to hear me droning on so I have switched this feature off. There is capacity to record onto an SD card, but I have opted for their subscription service - Arlo Smart, which records and saves videos for up to 30 days, this will cost £2.49 a month for one camera up to 2k video, but I am currently making use of their free trial period. They do have other options and provide premium subscriptions, but for what I need it for, I can get away with the lowest cost one.
Other things I love about the Arlo Go is the 'Activate Siren' option, which makes the camera sound an alarm, I also love the 'grant access' feature which means that I can invite people to watch the camera as well - I'm sure to many of my friends and family this is like watching paint dry, but my Mum did at least say 'oooo' and 'ahhhh' in an encouraging way.
I have motion detection activated currently and I know that eventually I will turn this off, there is also the option to detect how 'strong' the motion detection is. However because I want to know whether she is falling down during the night with narcolepsy, I would rather be notified when she moves for the time being so I can at least check. I have an Apple iPhone and Apple Watch, I receive the notifications on both, on my watch it shows a quick snapshot of the motion detected. The images are really clear, particularly when blown up on a laptop, I've so far managed to connect each time I have loaded up the live view. I can download the recorded videos to store on my own hard drive.
Overall I am really pleased, curious as to how long the battery will last, from the research I have done it suggests it lasts a relatively long period of time. However, I had a full battery when I installed it and now sitting on 57% the following day. Although I did do quite a lot of live streaming (I was very excited I could see my horse whilst also being in bed!) I think when that novelty wears off I won't need to recharge it quite so much, also the poor camera did a lot of recording last night due to the motion sensitivity being set quite high. I think other than that the only other thing I will find annoying is I need to take down the whole camera to replace the battery, it comes with a mounted wall bracket and on top of that I have bought the Arlo Quadmount, which is a bit like a tripod, but not sure how useful that will be in my stable yet.
A big shout out to Ashtree. I am really lucky in that the yard I am on, the security is high, the owners are on site and I am completely rest assured that if I said 'please can you just check on my horse' they would, particularly when it comes to the welfare of the horses. However, I imagine if you were a bit further away from your yard and maybe in a more secluded area that this would be such a useful tool, not only for welfare reasons, but also for security. Many yards don't offer wifi or access to electricity points. I feel that having a camera will give me insight into my horse better, so I can better understand her sleeping patterns and the areas where she stumbles at night with her narcolepsy, I can then make changes to my stable accordingly. I really recommend this camera.