The first viable social media platform just for equestrians, Huufe combines a marketplace and ride tracking with your favorite social media functionality to create a unique experience. Horse Nation speaks with CEO Charlie Trietline for an exclusive first look.
For those of us who post more on social media about our horses than anything else in our life, for those of us who track every ride with another between-the-ears photo, for those of us whose various feeds look like a horse show lineup, for those of us who use social media as a way to buy, sell and network with other horse people all over the globe: Huufe is coming to combine all of these functions into one platform, developed by equestrians for equestrians.
Huufe CEO Charlie Trietline knows this equestrian world well: his father was a National Hunt trainer with 80 to 100 horses under his care. “As soon as I was able, I was riding,” Trietline details to Horse Nation. “I rode as an amateur jockey for awhile, then joined the army.” It wasn’t just any army regiment: Trietline was a member of the famous Household Cavalry, serving both as reconnaissance all over the world and “the ceremonial stuff,” as Trietline calls it. He followed his service with a decade working for Hewlett-Packard in the technology sector.
This combination of experiences gave Trietline plenty of ideas, but there was one idea in particular that he mulled over for weeks, then months: a social media platform that was part marketplace, part ride tracker, part community and all for equestrians. “I looked back at my life, I took the best bits of everything, and put them together. The more friends I spoke to about it, the more told me, ‘Charlie, this is quite good.'” Huufe was born.
More than an app
“There’s an emerging trend among these big, general platforms,” Trietline describes. “The big platforms are fragmenting a bit, and smaller communities are coming out of these larger networks. People are after a unique experience, which is what’s led to the creation of separate social media platforms for other niche groups, like cycling or running. The equestrian world has so far been underserved with such platforms… and I saw the opportunity to create something bespoke and special.”
Huufe is more than another app to add to your phone: it’s a free and fully-fledged social network of its own, with functionality on both mobile and computer. On Huufe, users will be able to post their user profile, connect with other equestrians, post photos and videos and track their equine-related activity — using a smartphone, users can track their entire ride in real time. Users can create and join groups to foster community within Huufe, based on anything from geographic location to favorite breed to discipline to whatever users can come up with.
Premium users — Trietline ballparks the price for a premium account around $7 a month — can add horse profiles and then use Huufe’s management tools to track health schedules as well as a stable management calendar. Premium accounts also have accident detection technology at their disposal: the user’s smartphone will be able to detect a fall and text three designated contacts if a fall alarm is not turned off within a certain amount of time.
Users can also access the marketplace, where horses and equipment can be listed for free. Huufe’s marketplace, in conjunction with its in-depth horse profiles, offers a comprehensive look at a horse’s background and experience like no other network.
Trietline emphasizes that once the initial network is launched, Huufe will be user-driven: “Added functionality will be based on what the Huufe community wants to see.” In the works are a set of features for equestrian service providers, such as farriers and vets, to be able to build a service directory, as well as eventual gait analysis for the ride tracking feature.
While many aspects of Huufe might visually look similar to Facebook, there are a few key differences — namely, that there will be zero advertising. “That’s a strict rule for me,” Trietline states. “It will be a unique experience for users, rather than scrolling through ads to get to what you want to see.”
Instead, Huufe seeks to emphasize the community aspect through its groups feature. “It’s a more intimate experience,” Trietline describes. “Individual members’ activity will flow into the group setting and build that sense of community.”
Of course, social media has become known not only for bringing people together, but sometimes tearing them apart — Trietline was quick to address the concept of bullying. “We have a very strict code of conduct for all users, and reporting functionality for all posts so that they can be reviewed by the team for anything that goes against that code of conduct. This is a very serious point for us: that kind of behavior goes against everything we’re trying to do here, and we will not tolerate it.”
It’s clear from speaking with Charlie Trietline that his passion truly lies in developing and sustaining an equestrian community via Huufe, and it appears that no stone has been left unturned on the long road of development and design.
Alpha testing will begin in March with a small group of about thirty to forty users. “There will still be a bit of tidying up to do at this stage, and those alpha testers will be making sure everything is ready to go.”
By late spring, Trietline plans to have the beta version available for download in smartphone app stores and open online, with users able to operate in test mode. If all goes well in beta version, marketing the full version of Huufe will take place in early June.
You can sign up now at huufe.com to join the email list for updates and become a beta tester, and follow on social media so you’ll know when Huufe is ready to welcome you: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.