The measurement of various body dimensions of horses plays a significant role in quality improvement, genetic breeding, health, and soundness. There has been significant advancement in the technology for acquiring stereoscopic images with a three-dimensional (3D) scanner. This study aimed to validate the accuracy of body measurements obtained from stereoscopic images taken with a 3D scanner. We manually took the following body measurements for 8 riding horses: height at the withers, height at the back, height at the croup, chest depth, width of the chest, width of the croup, width of the waist, girth circumference, cannon circumference, and body length. Using a versatile tablet-type 3D scanning device, we captured a 3D image of each horse. Relative errors varied from −1.37% to 6.25%. The correlation coefficient between manual and 3D measurements was significant for all body measurements (P<0.01) except for width of the waist and cannon circumference. The low accuracy of cannon circumference (r=0.248) was due to effect of hair. A simple regression analysis of all body measurements revealed a strong correlation (P<0.001, R2=0.9994, root-mean-square error [RMSE]=1.522). Notable advantages of this methodology include high accuracy, good operability, non-contact, high versatility, and low cost. Further studies are required for the establishment of an accurate measurement methodology that can scan the whole body in a shorter time.
Hippotherapy in patients with neuromuscular dysfunction creates high focal pressure on the pony’s back due to bareback riding and an asymmetrical riding position. This study aimed to investigate the acute effect of asymmetrical bareback riding on the pony’s spinal kinematics, blood lactate, serum creatine kinase, heart rate, and temperament score. Eight ponies were selected, and they were walked on a treadmill for 45 min on each experimental day, including warm-up (5 min), weight-loading by mannequin (30 min), and cool-down (10 min) sessions. During the weight-loading session, three different weight distributions on the pony’s back were applied between the left and right side: 50:50 (treatment M), 70:30 (treatment L), and 30:70 (treatment R) on the first, second, and third day of the experiment, respectively. The spinal kinematics at the end of the weight-loading session revealed a slight reduction in range of motion in both flexion-extension and lateral bending during treatment R. Stride length and stride duration showed no differences between treatments. The levels of blood lactate and serum creatine kinase and results of a back examination were normal. Heart rates and temperament scores revealed that all ponies were calm throughout loading of the mannequin. This information suggests that asymmetrical bareback riding did not cause acute or serious back injury, which indicates good equine welfare in ponies used for hippotherapy.
Information regarding the lactational performance of mares in relation to metabolic parameters can help practitioners to manipulate animal rearing management for sustainable mare milk production. The aim of this study was to characterize the lactational performance of Mongolian native mares grazing on natural pastureland by revealing the seasonal effects on metabolic parameters. In this study, 8 multiparous mares were used. Milk yield and composition and serum metabolic parameters, such as alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), glucose (GLU), triacylglycerol, total cholesterol (TCH), non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA), albumin, urea, total protein, cortisol (Cort), and insulin, were determined at 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, and 270 days of lactation. During the lactation period, milk yield peaked at around the 90th day and declined sharply in the following period. While the milk fat and protein contents decreased gradually from the early stages of lactation to the late stages, the lactose content was highest at mid-lactation and stayed constant until the end of the lactation period. Meanwhile, changes were observed between the stages of lactation, and the differences in metabolic parameters were significant (P<0.05), except for AST and GLU. The strongest correlation was found with NEFA (P<0.01), followed by the Cort (P<0.05) concentration, with both parameters showing negative correlation, and strong positive correlation was detected between the milk yield and TCH (P<0.05) concentration.
The antibody response in horses inoculated with 2 doses of a live equine herpesvirus type 1 vaccine with different vaccination intervals (1 to 3 months) was evaluated with regard to the persistence of virus-neutralizing (VN) antibodies. The durations for which the geometric mean VN titers were maintained significantly higher than those before the first vaccination (P<0.05) were up to 5 months in horses that received the vaccination with a 1-month interval (n=17) and 7 months for those that received it with a 2-month (n=17) or 3-month interval (n=14 or 17). The vaccination program with the 2-month interval was the most effective in maintaining VN antibodies for a long duration with the smallest gap of antibody decline between the first and second vaccinations.