An app for horses
06 December 2012
Following the success of Aberystwyth University’s inaugural farming app, farmGRAZE, earlier this year, a second app has now been launched on iTunes which is aimed at the equine sector.
horseRATION is the first app to be aimed specifically at equine nutrition and allows the user to accurately calculate the amount of feed their horse needs.
Taking into account weight, workload, body condition score, behaviour and health status, the app is able to guide horse owners towards the most suitable diet for their horse or pony, which will avoid various nutritional-related health problems including obesity.
horseRATION is the second app to be developed by the University this year, in collaboration with Arkuris Ltd and CEMAS (Glamorgan).
The app quickly calculates the amount of forage and hard feed which is to be fed to the horse and will also help owners save money in the long-term by improving animal health.
Dr Rhian Hayward from the Technology Transfer Team, Commercialisation and Consultancy Services at the University, explains, “horseRATION and farmGRAZE form part of the mobileFARM initiative which has been created to specifically promote apps developed from the expertise in the areas of agriculture, equine science and animal health.
“horseRATION is the result of an Apps Challenge held for staff and students last year to transform research based ideas into mobile app concepts.”
Equine nutritionist Catherine Hale, who is in the final year of her PhD at Aberystwyth, is looking at novel ways to improve energy utilisation in horses and won the Apps Challenge with her idea for horseRATION.
She explains, “I see horses on a daily basis that are suffering from various nutrition-related problems and where the welfare of the horse could be easily improved by simply changing the diet. horseRATION ascertains all the information needed to calculate a diet.
“We have included tips throughout the app that help users to answer all the questions needed to form the ration. The app will calculate weight and provide visual prompts to help horse owner decide on their horse’s body condition. And as it can all be done on your iPhone, it is really easy to do out on the yard.”
horseRATION, similar to the farmGRAZE app, has been developed using the expertise from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), and will help horse and pony owners to manage their rations cost effectively and to avoid unnecessary vet’s bills. horseRATION is the first app to be specially designed as an equine feed rationing tool.
There are two versions of horseRATION available - a free version and a paid-for version. The free version will help owners calculate the amount of forage needed by the horse, whereas the full version includes hard (concentrate) feed calculations as well for the complete picture. Both versions offer tips on how to keep your horse well fed as well as health check information.
The paid-for version (£4.99) goes that extra step and allows the user to save information about several horses, save and recall the feed amount, export the information to an e-mail and set reminders in a person’s phone calendar.
More information can be found on the website: www.mobilefarmapps.com
Since its release on the Google Play app store in July 2012, farmGRAZE has been downloaded over 1,000 times by users in the UK and globally including the USA, New Zealand, Australia and South Korea as well as several European countries.
In March 2011, Aberystwyth University won a Fast Forward award worth £30,000 from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for a project about ‘effective use of copyright and trade marks’.
The money was awarded to encourage innovative approaches to knowledge transfer from university research to real world products and services.
From April-July 2011, Aberystwyth University ran a ‘mobile apps challenge 2011’ competition for staff and students to enter their research based ideas and achievements as mobile app concepts.
There were three winning entries. Two of them were from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), with the other from the Department of Computer Science.
The mobileFARM brand has been established to market two apps that were originally identified as winners of the mobile apps challenge (the two IBERS entries).
mobileFARM aims to support farmers and animal owners locally and globally to work efficiently to save money and to provide guidance on best practice. The mobileFARM apps include farmGRAZE and horseRATION.