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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Equestrian dressage may seem like an odd candidate for digital transformation. This remarkable story proves otherwise, with lessons any business can use.

Most people wouldn’t immediately think of equestrian sports when they think of “digital transformation.” There are few sports more timeless and steeped in tradition than equestrian events; that’s especially true for dressage.

Dressage is a style of riding meant to demonstrate elegant, highly trained maneuvers. Judges traditionally make remarks and score the performance on signed paper documents, a time-consuming, manual and wasteful process.

Black Horse One set out to bring dressage into the 21st century. Their paperless judging solution, eDressage, replaces manual score keeping. Black Horse One’s story demonstrates how digital transformation can improve even the most unlikely of institutions. Who knew that equestrian competition would work better in the cloud?

In this episode of Better Together: Customer Conversations, we take on digital transformation in sports. Black Horse One CEO Daniel Göhlen walks us through his (literally) game-changing journey.

Galloping into the 21st Century

Daniel Göhlen isn’t just a fan of dressage; he was also a competitor. Daniel saw the need to update dressage’s manual scoring methods, but he was up against centuries of tradition. The rules were clear: scoring is carried out by groups of judges at the event and recorded on paper score sheets. The sheets are transferred to scribes who collect them to be tallied and reported. This process significantly delays score reporting to athletes and fans and involves extra personnel. Black Horse One was determined to change the rulebook with their paperless scoring solution, eDressage.

eDressage allows judges to record and validate scores using cloud-based technology instead of paper records. The safe, speedy, and reliable solution enables quick scoring and remote participation. eDressage has been adopted all over the world and has benefited the sport in many ways:

  • 92% reduction in paper waste before and during shows

  • 50% reduction in personnel needed for scoring and visualization

  • Increased spectator engagement and enjoyment

  • Develops opportunities for new judges at a rapid rate

  • Expanded social distancing and remote opportunities

  • Adopted by world class equestrian events, globally

How did Black Horse One become an equestrian innovator? Join us for the thought leadership podcast and our LinkedIn conversation about eDressage:

  • Podcast: Tamara McCleary, CEO at Thulium, Daniel Göhlen, and world-class tennis instructor Craig O’Shannessy discuss how digital transformation is improving the experience for coaches, judges, athletes and fans. The podcast explores sport visibility and enhancement during Covid, the future potential for digital transformation in sport, and how these experiences apply to the business world, too.

  • LinkedIn Live discussion: Daniel Göhlen joins me to talk about how Black Horse One accomplished its game changing transformation. We walk through what the process was like from eDressage ideation to go live and the SAP solutions that supported it. Daniel digs into how his small team made big changes and how they overcame obstacles along the way.

Interested in additional success where sports and technology intersect?

  • NHL: A clever, in-game coaching app delivers real-time performance data, helping the NHL boost player skills and delight sports fans

  • San Francisco 49ers: Helping The 49ers Feel The Pulse Of the Stadium

Black Horse One’s remarkable innovation shows that digital transformation can happen anywhere, from Wimbledon to Tokyo to your boardroom.

Looking for even more inspiring stories straight from SAP Business Technology Platform customers? You can check out the whole Better Together: Customer Conversations series and more at

Please let me know if there are topics you’d like to hear more about in the future as well as questions you’d like to explore. And, as always, please contact us if you’d like to be a guest on a future episode.