New device to monitor horse’s drinking habits

  • A device is being developed to measure how much water a horse drinks.

    Thirst Alert is the brainchild of United States mechanical engineering student Caitlin Parrucci.

    The specially adapted bucket will measure how much a horse drinks and gives an alert when there has been a change in the horse’s drinking habits, or the water level is low.

    Ms Parrucci earned Cornell University’s 2016 student business of the year title for the device earlier this month (16 April), taking home a $5,000 prize (£3,470).

    The student has been a rider for 15 years and joined the university’s equestrian team as a freshman (first year student).

    In caring for the horses, she noticed that it is difficult to track keep track of each animal’s water consumption. This was a particularly evident when multiple people took care of a horse.

    Low water intake can lead to colic and can indicate other problems, Ms Parrucci said.

    “There are a number of reasons why a horse could stop drinking,” she told the Cornell Chronicle.

    “They all should signal an alert to the horse owner.”

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    Ms Parrucci was further inspired to develop the device by taking a course in innovative product design.

    Last year (2 September), she won a pitch contest where she introduced the product at an entrepreneurship event at Cornell University.

    In the near future, she hopes to have eight prototypes in place at Oxley Equestrian Centre, New York, where the student group rides, with a variety of horses.

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