Technology Improving Horse Health Record-Keeping

Recent study results suggest competitive riders would be much more inclined to use technology to keep track of their mounts’ biometric data than recreational riders would.
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Technology Improving Horse Health Record-Keeping
Recent study results suggest competitive riders would be much more inclined to use technology to keep track of their mounts' biometric data than recreational riders would. | Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse
How smart is your health record-keeping for your horse? With new technology emerging constantly, horse owners and riders can bring the science of biometrics into their own yards. The question remains, though, whether those owners and riders are willing to take that step.

Recent study results suggest competitive riders would be much more inclined to use technology to keep track of their mounts’ biometric data than recreational riders would. That data—including heart and respiratory rate, temperature, and other health information—has a direct link to a horse’s overall health and performance. Many people in the horse industry, however, might not be aware of that link and could be missing out on what potential technology could offer them, said Emily Fernald, BSc, of Norwich University, in Northfield, Vermont.

“Technology has had a profound impact on human athletics, and similar technology can and could later be applied to equine athletes,” Fernald said. She discussed the results of her online survey of people in the horse industry during her presentation at the 2017 International Society for Equitation Science Symposium, held Nov. 22-26 in Wagga Wagga, Australia.

“Some coaches acquire invaluable information for maintaining their athletes using wearable technologies to monitor in-game stress responses or responses to injuries,” she said. “A whole set of devices are in the process of development and soon to come out for individual use in the horse industry, as well. So it’s important to know if the people of that industry really understand the benefits of that technology and are willing to actually use it

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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