Smart Textiles: Future Use in Equine Research

Researchers are investigating the use of smart textiles and technology in equine science.
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When a horse is standing still, equitation scientists and veterinary researchers can take measurements with ease—well, depending on the horse. In theory, a heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature are relatively simple to collect from static animals.

Put the horse in movement, though, and things can get tricky fast. And let’s face it, horses are dynamic creatures. This offers a unique challenge to equitation scientists who need accurate heart rate, respiration, and saddle and tack pressure (among other) data for research into horse behavior and welfare.

To try to find a solution for evaluating horses in movement, researchers in Sweden and Australia are investigating the use of smart textiles and technology in equine science. The team includes individuals from Chalmers University of Technology, the Swedish School of Textiles, Gothenburg University, the Australian Equine Behavior Centre, and the University of Sydney. Johanna Ternstrom, a master’s student at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers, presented the fabrics’ potential for use in equine research at the 9th Annual International Society for Equitation Science, held July 18-20 at the University of Delaware, in Newark.

Smart textiles, also known as electronic textiles or e-textiles, are designed to seamlessly integrate electronic components or monitors for taking physical measurements into fabric

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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