Measuring Horses’ Skin Temperature Changes Underwater

Infrared thermography (IRT) appears effective at measuring a horse’s skin temperature during water treadmill exercise.
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Water treadmill workouts are gaining in popularity, especially for rehabilitating injuries. Compared with swimming pool exercises, water treadmill therapy allows the horse to maintain correct posture and gives a handler the ability to control the speed, incline, water height, and resistance of the workout.

“Although water treadmills are becoming very popular, not a lot of research has been carried out into their effects on workload and the horse,” said Kelly Yarnell, PhD, a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, in England.

Previous research has examined water height and its effects on a horse’s movement, but additional information was needed to enable therapists to design effective rehabilitation and training programs that utilize the underwater treadmill.

“If we can better understand the changes in workload associated with increasing water height whilst using a water treadmill, then we can design better rehabilitation and training regimes that are suited to the individual horse,” Yarnell said

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Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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