The Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America (BDHCA) had its start and beginning with the partnership of the Wabash Importing Company in Wabash, Indiana, where it is still maintained today. The main goal of the BDHCA is to keep and maintain a register of the importations, descriptions, and genealogies or pedigrees of such imported stock and their descendants in order to maintain a pure breed; to issue certificates of registry and transfer of purebred Belgian Draft Horses. No small feat!
For the past nine years, Stellar Blue Technologies has been a trusted partner of Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America. We developed the entire online database for BDHCA from the ground up and have been closely involved ever since, tweaking and updating its custom database system as the organization grows and as their needs changed. In July 2018, they came to us, knowing another major upgrade was needed.
Client Challenges and Goals
In 2010, the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America originally reached out to Stellar Blue Technologies with a problem. For years, they had been utilizing outdated software and equipment to try and maintain a vast registry of Belgian Draft Horse breeding records. Back then, BDHCA was truly having a difficult time trying to find a company that could help take the massive repository of data from their computers and convert it into an online program.
Our team of experts at Stellar Blue spent hours learning and researching the extent of the existing database, seeking to gain an in-depth knowledge of an application that manages hundreds of thousands of horse records nationwide. It wasn’t easy. BDHCA’s previous developer was no longer available to provide any background and left behind little to no documentation. There was definitely a learning curve for our team, but Stellar Blue’s team of developers and programmers quickly grasped all the concepts, taking the old system and expanding it, implementing new features to meet the client’s evolving needs. In total, the project took 2 years to complete.
Fast forward 7 years to 2019, when our team worked with Belgian Draft Horse to significantly upgrade the system again. The client understood that, while maintenance and support items were dealt with all along, there really were no major updates since 2012. The competitive landscape of the industry was changing rapidly, with various other nationwide registries getting new features and advancements, that the BDHCA database was sorely lacking. They knew many items needed to be expanded; they saw how the system needed to grow to meet the increasing demands of the database’s users and once again turned to Stellar Blue Technologies to help with this new, significant upgrade.
Stellar Blue Value-Added Solutions
The underlying framework of the system, CodeIgniter, was utilizing an old software version and the entire code base had to be upgraded. This upgrade was a necessary improvement so the new product could take advantage of the latest security standards and support new features implemented by Stellar Blue. The new version of CodeIgniter could not support the previous database model used by BDHCA, so our team at Stellar Blue Technologies had to completely revamp and swap out the old database for a brand new one. Efforts to ensure the longevity of the new application, as well as avoiding being an easy target for online hackers, were made to the old framework and system. It was a massive undertaking!
We were able to launch all these new features, including a new “Pedigree builder” tool, which allows users to pick any two horses of the hundreds of thousands of horses in the registry to see the breeding offspring of up to 6 generations deep, including any possible inbreeding along the way. Most of BDHCA’s competition did not supply records so many generations in the past.
Additional features also included the ability for users to upload documents to their owner and horse profiles, updated search functionality (making it easier to search for horses, owners, and database prefixes), and form creation to collect frozen semen certificate information (a necessity in the industry), all within a 6 month schedule. Actually, our team was able to complete this huge, complicated project 2 weeks ahead of schedule, much to the delight of Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America!
Our team has continued to work with BDHCA in the months that followed the completion of the project. We understand the importance of maintaining an ongoing relationship with our clients, helping them to stay up-to-date as technologies change. Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America acknowledged that this time around, they shouldn’t wait another 7 years for their next round of updates. It’s far simpler and more effective to update as you go, rather than having to do a massive overhaul with a “big rollout” that could take months.
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