Adaption of horses to a novel dynamic feeding system: movement and behavioural responses

Hampson, B. A., de Laat, M. A., Monot, J., Bailliu, D. and Pollitt, C. C. (2013) Adaption of horses to a novel dynamic feeding system: movement and behavioural responses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 45 4: 481-484. doi:10.1111/evj.12002

Author Hampson, B. A.
de Laat, M. A.
Monot, J.
Bailliu, D.
Pollitt, C. C.
Title Adaption of horses to a novel dynamic feeding system: movement and behavioural responses
Journal name Equine Veterinary Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0425-1644
Publication date 2013-07
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/evj.12002
Volume 45
Issue 4
Start page 481
End page 484
Total pages 4
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Reasons for performing study Many domestic horses and ponies are sedentary and obese due to confinement to small paddocks and stables and a diet of infrequent, high-energy rations. Severe health consequences can be associated with this altered lifestyle.

Objectives The aims of this study were to investigate the ability of horses to learn to use a dynamic feeder system and determine the movement and behavioural responses of horses to the novel system.

Methods A dynamic feed station was developed to encourage horses to exercise in order to access ad libitum hay. Five pairs of horses (n = 10) were studied using a randomised crossover design with each pair studied in a control paddock containing a standard hay feeder and an experimental paddock containing the novel hay feeder. Horse movement was monitored by a global positioning system (GPS) and horses observed and their ability to learn to use the system and the behavioural responses to its use assessed.

Results With initial human intervention all horses used the novel feeder within 1 h. Some aggressive behaviour was observed between horses not well matched in dominance behaviour. The median distance walked by the horses was less (P = 0.002) during a 4 h period (117 [57–185] m) in the control paddock than in the experimental paddock (630 [509–719] m).

Conclusions The use of an automated feeding system promotes increased activity levels in horses housed in small paddocks, compared with a stationary feeder.

Potential relevance The novel feeder system may have application in the husbandry of horses and ponies kept in small paddocks by encouraging a natural pattern of exercise without human intervention and an ad libitum diet of hay. This may improve the health and welfare of horses.
Keyword Horse
Insulin resistance
Insulin sensitivity
Feral horses
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 6 DEC 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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