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Title: Factors influencing the energy requirements of native ponies living outdoors in the United Kingdom
Author: Booth, Mary Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The purpose of this study was to determine the daily energy requirements of ponies native to the U.K., living on upland areas. This information can be used to improve the management of ponies kept under these conditions. The objectives of this thesis were to i) determine the effects of speed and terrain on the energy costs of ponies when walking, ii) measure seasonal differences in the hair coat, iii) estimate the effect of a wet winter coat on metabolic rate, iv) determine the proportion of a day spent by free-living ponies in feeding, walking, standing and lying, v) estimate the total distance moved daily by these ponies, and vi) describe the relationships between weather conditions and the behaviour and location of ponies. In the first study, the energy costs of walking were measured in four Shetland and two Exmoor ponies by using open-circuit, indirect calorimetry. The energy cost of activity, above that for standing, was independent of speed and averaged 1.02 J/kg liveweight/m travelled. An Oxylog, a portable breath-by-breath oxygen analyser, was used to determine effects of terrain on the energy cost of walking using five Shetland ponies. In the second study, physical parameters of the winter and summer hair coats of six Shetland ponies were compared. In the third study, six Exmoor pony mares, kept in an enclosed area of fell in Cumbria, were observed in later winter (W) when they were pregnant, and in summer (S) when they were lactating. The results showed that the energy costs of activity (walking and grazing) were greater in winter than in summer. Therefore, seasonal adjustments in energy requirements are needed to allow for changes in activity as well as changes in heat loss. Recommendations are made regarding the management strategies for ponies kept outdoors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available