Quantifying Equine Behavior Utilizing GPS
Author: Vanessa M Cote
Major: Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Graduation Year: 2022
Thesis Advisor: Colt Knight
Description of Publication: GPS tracking systems have been around for many years and are used to track, map, determine precise locations, navigate, and get precise time measurements on a number of different animals, devices, vehicles, and much more. The use of GPS tracking systems on animals has been a huge breakthrough in the cattle industry since this means farmers no longer have to monitor their cattle manually, but can do remotely. The research that has previously been done on cattle tracking can now be applied to horses, although as horses are used in a much different manner than cattle the data will go on to indicate the overall movement of the horse, the use of pasture, and time spent grazing. This information can then be used to potentially lower cost of living for horses as well as potentially improve quality of life for them, since we may be able to detect changes in movement or behavior which are indicative of injury or other problems. Technological advances over the past several years makes the use of GPS cost effective and open the opportunity to monitor different types of animals remotely, making it easier to alert farmers, or other horse owners, to possible problems on their property. Taking all of this into consideration, the question at hand is: how can the use of a GPS collar indicate behavioral changes and pasture usage of horses? I hypothesized that the GPS monitors would be able to detect small movements of horses which would indicate position in their pasture, or grazing, and also detect movements that are outside of each horse's normal movements which may indicate some kind of illness or issue in their pasture. The results of this study show that using GPS to track equine movement can indicate their behavior. Though without more precise devices, it is difficult to differentiate between certain movements like resting or grazing.
Location of Publication:
URL to Thesis: https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/honors/740