You can lead a horse to water – but how much does it drink?

Equine Design's Water Monitoring system in place.
Early prototypes of Equine Design’s Water Monitoring system.

Most horse owners have only a rough idea how much water their horse drinks in a day, but a new device created by a US engineering student may soon have the answer.

The special device has won Caitlin Parrucci Cornell’s 2016 Student Business of the Year title, with the $US5000 prize from Entrepreneurship at Cornell presented last week.

Horse owners can monitor each horse's intake using a mobile app.
Horse owners can monitor each horse’s intake using a mobile app.

The device weighs how much water a horse drinks a day. Changes in water intake can indicate a health issue that may be brewing, including the likes of colic, Parrucci said.

A mechanical engineer, Parrucci has been a horse rider for some 15 years. She joined Cornell’s varsity equestrian team as a freshman, and in caring for the horses at the Oxley Equestrian Center, she recognized a problem she had seen throughout her riding career: when several people take care of a horse, it’s difficult to track keep track of each horse’s water consumption.

Within a few weeks she’ll have eight prototypes in place at Oxley with a variety of horses, the Cornell Chronicle reported this week.

Parrucci has founded a business named Equine Design, which is a member of eLab, Cornell’s startup incubator.

Second place at the Student Business of the Year went to Navo, an app that helps shoppers navigate shopping malls and compare prices at various stores, presented by CEO and founder Landice Gao. Third prize went to Golden Start, a company founded by Priscilla Akomaning, which provides breast milk to nonlactating mothers.

One of Equine Design's water monitoring prototypes.
One of Equine Design’s water monitoring prototypes.


Caitlin Parrucci during a presentation on Equine Design's Water Monitoring device.
Caitlin Parrucci during a presentation on Equine Design’s Water Monitoring device.


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