Faced with continually increasing costs from one of the major computer operating system providers, the folks at Ontrack Equine in Lake Elmo, Minn., have decided to pull back on further development and maintenance of its system.

That’s not good news for farriers and equine veterinarians who have made good use of the program, which was designed for more effective communication and documentation when dealing with the footcare needs of today’s athletic horses. The program was developed to provide digital files, reports for each visit, shoeing progress data and much more. Developed by farrier Scott Lampert, slow motion and zoom features within the program have led to more accurate findings, especially when it comes to gait analysis and the hoof.

Trend Away From Computers

“We have been watching the trends for a couple of years and it is clear that mobile devices are the path of the future as fewer and fewer people are purchasing computers and/or laptops,” says Sara Morrison, the company’s customer service manager. “In the first half of 2013 as an example, mobile devices again outsold traditional computer sales by a significantly increasing margin. Personal computer sales as a whole continue to plummet.”

Morrison and Lampert pointed out that a major problem for small-scale businesses, with specialized programs such as Ontrack, is the fact that software development and management needs have become 300% to 500% more expensive compared to software development in the mobile apps area.

For example, software developers are more susceptible to increasing monthly maintenance expenses since Microsoft continually makes updates and changes to their Windows operating system. Program developers such as Ontrack are forced to continually make costly updates to their software in order to be compatible with the continued updates to operating systems, equipment, servers and other behind-the-scene requirements that occur on almost a weekly basis.

“The last 10 years in the software business have taught us to pay attention to our customers and to deliver a product that makes their business better, more organized, more professional and more accessible,” says Morrison.

Focus Is Shifting

Because of these developments, the Ontrack team is placing further development with computer software on the back burner to focus more on the mobile platform. As a result, Ontrack users will continue to make enhancements and improvements to their iPhone application, as well as the additional development of an iPad application.

As a result, the software version of the Ontrack program will no longer be supported as of Feb. 1.

“This means we will no longer officially sell the software or offer day-to-day support,” says Morrison. “We want to thank everyone for their support and interest in making horses happier, healthier and for using our software program to make a sound decision when it comes to footcare.”

Hopefully, we’ll see new Ontrack developments coming for the mobile app. This is too good of a program for farriers to lose due to the ever-growing cost of support from the major computer operating system players. Farriers and equine vets who have used the Ontrack system have told the American Farriers Journal editorial team that it has been an important tool in their hoof-care practice.