Special Shirt, Girth Help Evaluate Horse, Human Interaction

Riders might soon be able to monitor their horses’ physiological emotional responses and compare them with their own.
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If we could just get “inside” a horse—and his rider, too—we might gain a better understanding of the horse-human relationship. Researchers recently made sympathovagal monitoring (“emotion” monitoring) possible by attaching devices to horses and humans that record heart and respiration rates.

But Italian researchers have developed a way to gather that same information without having to strap hard, bulky devices to moving beings. Their new wearable monitoring system has the sensitive electrodes woven right into the thread of the material itself, making emotion-tracking more practical—and accessible.

In other words, you might soon be able to monitor your horses’ physiological emotional responses and compare them with your own.

“This kind of system (and related studies) aims at improving the quality of the relationship between human and horse, even more when there is an interaction, and to do this, we need to better understand horses using measurable information that the horse feels but cannot express,” said Antonio Lanata, PhD, of the E. Piaggio Research Center and the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Pisa

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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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