From The Horse, July 25th, 2013
New mobile apps developed at the University of Minnesota (U of M) Extension are designed to help horse owners more precisely plan hay purchases and evaluate horses’ body weight.
“Horses have evolved from work animals to recreational animals, with many leading leisurely lifestyles of limited exercise and access to lush pasture and grain,” said Krishona Martinson, PhD, U of M Extension equine specialist. “The recent shortage of hay, and the spike in prices, have forced many horse owners to reevaluate their feeding strategies.”
The U of M Extension’s horse team worked with researchers across the university and country to find solutions and Martinson’s group developed two mobile apps for iPhones and iPads designed to help horse owners plan their feeding strategies. Android versions of the apps are in development.
Hay Price Calculator App
“Horse owners are one of the few groups of livestock owners that buy hay by the bale; buying by the bale can make it difficult to compare prices between and within bale types,” Martinson said. “A $4 small square bale that weighs 35 pounds actually costs more per ton than a $5 bale that weighs 50 pounds, for example.”
With the hay price calculator app, horse owners enter bale weight and price to calculate price per ton. Calculations for small square bales, large square bales, and round bales can be made, helping the buyer to purchase the most economical hay.
Hay buyers must know the bale weight, and the app does not take nutritive value into account. “Ideally, the app will be used to compare prices of hay with similar forage nutritive values,” said Martinson. The Hay Price Calculator app retails for $0.99 and can be accessed at http://z.umn.edu/itunesHorseHay.
Healthy Horse App
Veterinarians and professionals have long expressed concern over increasing rates of equine obesity. The healthy horse app helps estimate horses’ body weights, which can help owners, veterinarians, and other equine professionals make decisions if a horse is identified as being ideal, over- or underweight. Researchers collected data on nearly 700 horses to develop the app.
“Determining a horse’s body weight is critical for weight and feeding management, and for administering medication,” said Molly McCue, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, an associate professor at the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine and one of the app developers. The app allows horse owners and professionals to estimate the body weight of various adult horse types— including Arabians, ponies, stock, saddle, and miniature—by entering height, body length, neck, and girth circumference. Additionally, ideal body weight and a body weight score are also calculated for Arabians, ponies, and stock horses. The app retails for $1.99 and can be found at http://z.umn.edu/itunesHealthyHorse.
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