Monitoring distances travelled by horses using GPS tracking collars

Hampson, B. A., Morton, J. M., Mills, P. C., Trotter, M. G., Lamb, D. W. and Pollitt, C. C. (2010) Monitoring distances travelled by horses using GPS tracking collars. Australian Veterinary Journal, 88 5: 176-181. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.2010.00564.x

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Author Hampson, B. A.
Morton, J. M.
Mills, P. C.
Trotter, M. G.
Lamb, D. W.
Pollitt, C. C.
Title Monitoring distances travelled by horses using GPS tracking collars
Journal name Australian Veterinary Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0005-0423
1751-0813
Publication date 2010-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1751-0813.2010.00564.x
Volume 88
Issue 5
Start page 176
End page 181
Total pages 6
Editor Anne Jackson
Place of publication Carlton South, VIC, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective The aims of this work were to (1) develop a low-cost equine movement tracking collar based on readily available components, (2) conduct preliminary studies assessing the effects of both paddock size and internal fence design on the movements of domestic horses, with and without foals at foot, and (3) describe distances moved by mares and their foals. Additional monitoring of free-ranging feral horses was conducted to allow preliminary comparisons with the movement of confined domestic horses.

Procedures A lightweight global positioning system (GPS) data logger modified from a personal/vehicle tracker and mounted on a collar was used to monitor the movement of domestic horses in a range of paddock sizes and internal fence designs for 6.5-day periods.

Results In the paddocks used (0.8–16 ha), groups of domestic horses exhibited a logarithmic response in mean daily distance travelled as a function of increasing paddock size, tending asymptotically towards approximately 7.5 km/day. The distance moved by newborn foals was similar to their dams, with total distance travelled also dependent on paddock size. Without altering available paddock area, paddock design, with the exception of a spiral design, did not significantly affect mean daily distance travelled. Feral horses (17.9 km/day) travelled substantially greater mean daily distances than domestic horses (7.2 km/day in 16-ha paddock), even when allowing for larger paddock size.

Conclusions Horses kept in stables or small yards and paddocks are quite sedentary in comparison with their feral relatives. For a given paddock area, most designs did not significantly affect mean daily distance travelled.
© 2010 The Authors
Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Veterinary Association
Keyword Behaviour
Feral horses
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Horses
Paddock design
Modulate skeletal development
Feeding practices
Exercise
Growth
Performance
Laminitis
Strategy
Foals
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
 
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Created: Sun, 02 May 2010, 00:08:35 EST