ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0271.v1
Subject: Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Keywords: hippotherapy; horse riding simulator; mechanical horse design
Online: 19 October 2022 (07:31:52 CEST)
Hippotherapy is a popular rehabilitation method for children with cerebral palsy (CP), which is done by riding an actual horse or a horse riding simulator (HRS) device. Riding a real horse is more expensive than using an HRS device due to its high maintenance cost. However, most HRS devices commonly sold in the market are designed as exercise devices, not rehabilitation devices. Most of them are designed to simulate a horse's walk, trot, canter, or gallop gait at various speeds. Hippotherapy aims to improve the walking ability of CP patients. Therefore, the device should aim to replicate the walking gait of a healthy human, the end goal of hippotherapy. This problem motivates us to design and build a specialized HRS device replicating the walking gait of a healthy human that is suitable for hippotherapy, which is achievable by simulating a horse walking gait with several adjustments. We first studied and observed the walking gait cycle of a horse, then analyzed and derived a formulation of it. We then continue by designing an HRS device using a single electrical rotational motor and mechanical means to replicate the walking gait of a horse, then tune it to an extent to replicate a human walking gait. To measure the performance of our design, we compare the gait of the user when riding our device versus walking.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0308.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: horse; equine; Polo; GPS; horse welfare
Online: 29 August 2019 (08:37:57 CEST)
Polo is an equestrian team sport, consisting of Open and Women’s only handicapping systems. As cumulative player handicap increases in Open Polo, distance covered, average speeds and high intensity work performed per chukka also increase. These activities may differ in terms of distribution of, and their affect upon, match outcome in Women’s Polo, and thus have implications for equine preparation and management. This study aimed to quantify spatiotemporal differences between Open and Women’s Polo when matched for handicap and assess their affect upon chukka and match outcome using a prospective cohort design. Distance, speed and high intensity activity data were collected via player worn global positioning system (GPS) units during 16-goal Open and Women’s Polo tournaments. Notational analysis quantified chukka duration and chukka and game outcomes. Between group differences were assessed by independent samples t-tests, and two factor mixed effects ANOVA for within group analyses. Between group differences were analysed using an independent samples t-test with alpha defined a priori as p<0.05. Open and Women’s Polo differed by a small to large extent (ES: 0.54 – 1.81) for all spatiotemporal metrics. In Open Polo, players covered moderately more distance (429.0m; 238.9m to 619.0m), with small to large increases in high intensity activities performed in games won. Whereas in Women’s Polo, moderately higher maximum speeds were attained in games won (17.13 km/h; 11.86 km/h to 22.40 km/h) and a small increase in accelerations performed (5.1; 0.2 to 10.0). Open and Women’s Polo, when matched for handicap, present with small to large spatiotemporal differences that are likely of practical significance, and influence game outcome differently between codes. These differences do not necessarily mean that Polo ponies need to be trained differently for each code.
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: convolutional neural networks; horse emotion recognition; horse emotion
Online: 7 June 2021 (12:42:05 CEST)
Creating intelligent systems capable of recognizing emotions is a difficult task, especially when looking at emotions in animals. This paper describes the process of designing a “proof of concept” system to recognize emotions in horses. This system is formed by two elements, a detector and a model. The detector is a fast region-based convolutional neural network that detects horses in an image. The model is a convolutional neural network that predicts the emotions of those horses. These two elements were trained with multiple images of horses until they achieved high accuracy in their tasks. 400 images of horses were collected and labeled to train both the detector and the model while 80 were used to validate the system. Once the two components were validated, they were combined into a testable system that would detect equine emotions based on established behavioral ethograms indicating emotional affect through head, neck, ear, muzzle and eye position. The system showed an accuracy of between 69% and 74% on the validation set, demonstrating that it is possible to predict emotions in animals using autonomous intelligent systems. Such a system has multiple applications including further studies in the growing field of animal emotions as well as in the veterinary field to determine the physical welfare of horses or other livestock.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0065.v1
Online: 3 July 2019 (11:54:40 CEST)
Global positioning systems (GPS) have recently been shown to reliably quantify the spatiotemporal characteristics of Polo, with the physiological demands of Polo play at low and high goal levels also investigated. This study aimed to describe the spatiotemporal demands of Polo across 0 – 24 goal levels. A player worn GPS unit was used to quantify distance, speed and high intensity activities performed. Data was divided into chukkas and five equine-based speed zones, grouped per cumulative player handicap and assessed using standardised mean differences. Average distance and speed per chukka increased in accordance with cumulative player handicap, with the magnitude of differences being Trivial – Large and Trivial – Very Large, respectively. Differences between time spent in speed zones 4 and 5 show a linear increase in magnitude, when comparing 0 goal Polo to all other levels of play (Small – Very Large; 6 – 24 goals, respectively). High intensity activities predominantly shared this trend, displaying Trivial – Large differences between levels. These findings highlight the increasingly demanding cardiovascular, anaerobic and speed-based needs of Polo ponies as playing level increases. Strategies such as high intensity interval training, maximal speed work and aerobic conditioning may be warranted to facilitate this development and improve pony welfare and performance.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201802.0129.v3
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, General Psychology Keywords: nonverbal communication; interspecific communication; domestic horse
Online: 29 January 2019 (04:59:54 CET)
Although there has been research regarding the response of horses to human behaviour, there is still a gap concerning the knowledge about the interaction of horses and humans in showing individual responses to different human behaviour in the same situation. In this work, the horses´ individual responses to different humans were examined to close this research gap and to identify whether or not horses actually respond differently to different people. To this end, 29 interactions between horses and humans, where the humans were supposed to lead the horse through a training course (including two identical exercises in each situation) were videoed and then transcribed in the style of the action-oriented system of notations HANOS (Handlungsorientiertes Notationssystem). The qualitative content analysis was appropriated on the basis of Mayring. Just nonverbal interactions between each person and one horse were focused. In total, just under 600 interactions were analyzed and categorized. The categories were then put into a chi-square-test (quantitative analyses). Based on these analyses, it can be assumed that each human individual received an individual, different feedback from the horses.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0662.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: gonad; germ cell; genital duct; fetus; horse
Online: 28 June 2021 (14:14:06 CEST)
It was the aim of this study to provide a more precise timeframe of development of the gonads and genital ducts in the equine fetus around the time of sexual differentiation. This included the identification and localisation of the primordial germ cell population. Equine fetuses between 45 and 60 days of gestation were evaluated using a combination of micro-computed tomography scanning, immunohistochemistry, and multiplex immunofluorescence. Fetal gonads increased in size by 23-fold from 45 to 60 days of gestation, paralleled by a greater increase in metanephros volume. Signs of mesonephros atrophy were detected during this time. Tubular structures of the fetal testes were present from day 50 onwards, whereas cell clusters dominated in the fetal ovary. The genital ducts were well-differentiated and presented a lumen in all samples. No sign of mesonephric or paramesonephric duct degeneration was detected. Expression of AMH was strong in the fetal testes but absent in ovaries. Irrespective of sex, primordial germ cells selectively expressed LIN28. Migration of primordial germ cells from the mesonephros to the gonad was detected at 45 days, but not at 60 days of development. Their number and distribution within the gonad were influenced (p<0.05) by fetal sex. Most primordial germ cells (86.8 ± 3.2% in females and 84.6 ± 4.7% in males) were characterized as pluripotent according to co-localization with CD117. However, only a very small percentage of primordial germ cells was proliferating (7.5 ± 1.7% in females and 3.2 ± 1.2% in males) based on co-localization with Ki67. It can be concluded that gonadal sexual differentiation in the horse occurs asynchronously with regard to sex but already before 45 days of gestation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0617.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: refinement; pain; nociceptive threshold; horse; cat; dog; sheep; camel
Online: 27 August 2020 (12:20:22 CEST)
Nociceptive threshold (NT) testing is widely used for the study of pain and its alleviation. The end point is a normal behavioural response which may be affected by restraint or unfamiliar surroundings leading to erroneous data. Remotely controlled thermal and mechanical NT testing systems were developed to allow free movement during testing and were evaluated in cats, dogs, sheep, horses and camels. Thermal threshold (TT) testing incorporated a heater and temperature sensor held against the animal’s shaved skin. Mechanical threshold (MT) testing incorporated a pneumatic actuator attached to a limb containing a 1 - 2mm radiused pin pushed against the skin. Both stimuli were driven from battery powered control units attached on the animal’s back, controlled remotely via infra-red radiation from a hand held component. Threshold reading was held automatically and displayed digitally on the unit. The system was failsafe with a safety cutout at a preset temperature or force as appropriate. The animals accepted the equipment and behaved normally in their home environment enabling recording of reproducible TT (38.5 – 49.8°C) and MT (2.7 – 10.1N); precise values depended on species, the individual and the stimulus characteristics. Remote controlled NT threshold testing appears to be a viable refinement for pain research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201711.0183.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Dutch Konik; Metacarpal; Metatarsal; primitive horse; splint bones; Tarpan
Online: 29 November 2017 (07:01:17 CET)
The Dutch Konik is valued from a genetic conservation perspective and also for its role in preservation of natural landscapes. The primary management objective for the captive breeding of this primitive horse is to maintain its genetic purity, whilst also maintaining the nature reserves on which they graze. Breeding selection has traditionally been based on phenotypic characteristics consistent with the breed description, and the selection of animals for removal from the breeding program is problematic at times due to high uniformity within the breed. With the objective of identifying an additional non-invasive selection criterion with potential uniqueness to the Dutch Konik, this study investigates the anatomic parameters of the distal equine limb, with a specific focus on the relative lengths of the individual splint bones. Post-mortem dissections performed on distal limbs of Dutch Konik (n = 47) and modern domesticated horses (n = 120) revealed significant differences in relation to the length and symmetry of the 2nd and 4th Metacarpals and Metatarsals. Distal limb characteristics with apparent uniqueness to the Dutch Konik are described which could be an important tool in the selection and preservation of the breed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0578.v1
Subject: Entomology, Biology Keywords: horse chestnut tree; diversity; population dynamics; mite density; city parks
Online: 31 January 2023 (08:45:45 CET)
Phytoseiidae inhabit a wide range of herbs, shrubs and trees. Aesculus hippocastanum is an important ornamental tree in Europe and is likely reservoir of these mites. We therefore assessed the species composition and the spatial and seasonal variability in the abundance of Phytoseiidae in city parks in South Bohemia, Czech Republic. Leaf samples were randomly collected from horse chestnut tree branches at eight sites, five times during the vegetation season in 2013. The mites were collected by washing technique and mounted on slides for identification. In total, 13,903 specimens of phytoseiid mites were found, and eight species were identified: Amblyseius andersoni, Euseius finlandicus, Kampimodromus aberrans, Neoseiulella tiliarum, Phytoseilus macropilis, Paraseiulus talbii, Paraseiulus triporus and Typhlodromus (Typhlodromus) pyri. Paraseiulus talbii and P. macropilis were recorded on the leaves of horse chestnut trees for the first time in the Czech Republic in this study. The predominant species was E. finlandicus (96.25%). The number of mites per compound leaf was, on average, 2.53, 10.40, 23.54, 11.59 and 9.27 on the sampling dates in each month between May and September, respectively. The mite density was significantly affected by the sampling site and date.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0211.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; horse owner compliance; non-pharmaceutical interventions
Online: 8 March 2021 (11:18:30 CET)
In December 2019, an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases were reported in Wuhan and promptly confirmed to be caused by a new virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) of which the disease it caused would be known as COVID-19. In March 2020, in the absence of any vaccines, and in response to the global spread of SARS-CoV-2 the UK implemented non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) measures in the form of a national lockdown to decelerate the spread. Compliance with NPIs can have significant impact on reducing disease transmission however there are currently no studies measuring compliance within the horse ownership world which naturally brings groups of people together during everyday caregiving activities. This article describes the reported horse owner compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 to December 2020 as deduced from 1036 respondents which completed an anonymous online survey between December 30th, 2020 and January 11th, 2021. Where rules/guidance did exist, there was good compliance with 92.76% of respondents indicating that they were following them. The most common rule/guidance implemented was social distancing, which was also the most common rule/guidance to be breached. Riding with others whilst at the yard (hacking or in an arena) and meeting up with non-household members (family and friends) when off the yard were also common rules/guidelines breached. Respondents who kept their horses at either DIY livery, or on a private yard were most likely to breach rules/regulations whereas respondents who kept their horses at full livery were least likely to breach rules/regulations. The results indicate that compliance of horse owners with COVID-19 rules/guidance is high when rules/guidance exists. However, just under half of respondents indicated that there were no rules/guidelines on their yards indicating that there is room for an increased contribution from the horse owning community by encouraging more yards to impose control measures where they currently do not exist.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0173.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: Fade abruptly, abnormal respiratory noise, dynamic overground endoscopy, upper respiratory tract, horse.
Online: 7 June 2021 (12:41:43 CEST)
The purpose of the study was to find the source of complaints and to diagnose dynamic upper respiratory tract problems, which were derived from the horse owners, trainers, and jockeys, and to evaluate the overground endoscopic examination efficiency to determine the subclinical upper respiratory tract (URT) abnormalities, which were unable to diagnose with resting endoscopy. In the study, overground endoscopy has been used which nowadays there is a more useful and safe technique of performing endoscopy during ridden exercise in the natural field to diagnose dynamic upper respiratory tract (URT) abnormalities in comparison with the more traditional method of resting endoscopy. This study focused on 25 racehorses (Thoroughbred, n:22 and Arabian n: 3), which were admitted to Racehorse Hospital with complaints of fade abruptly and/or abnormal respiratory noise during the last meters of the race. All horses were examined for the complaints to be associated with systemic disorders and/or lameness, the racehorses with lameness and/or systemic disorders findings were excluded. Resting (post-exercise) and overground endoscopy by using Dr. Fritz® ETL-Equine Overground Endoscopy was performed on a polytrack racecourse in all racehorses. Observed abnormalities were recorded as simple and complex cases and the results of resting and dynamic examination were compared. It was concluded the overground endoscopic examination has a useful diagnostic value in determining the cause of abnormal respiratory noise and/or fade abruptly.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0124.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: horse; aynchronous embryo transfer; conceptus; endoemtrium; transcriptome; extracellular exosome; IGFBP3; Kininogen 1
Online: 7 March 2020 (16:11:52 CET)
Pre-implantation horse conceptuses require nutrients and signals from histotroph, the composition of which is regulated by luteal progesterone and conceptus-secreted factors. To distinguish progesterone and conceptus effects we shortened the period of endometrial progesterone-priming by asynchronous embryo transfer. Day 8 embryos were transferred to synchronous (day 8) or asynchronous (day 3) recipients, and RNA sequencing was performed on endometrium and conceptuses recovered 6 and 11 days later (embryo days 14 and 19). Asynchrony resulted in many more differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in conceptus membranes (3473) than endometrium (715). Gene ontology analysis identified upregulation in biological processes related to organogenesis and preventing apoptosis in synchronous conceptuses on day 14, and in cell adhesion and migration on day 19. Asynchrony also resulted in large numbers of DEGs related to ‘extracellular exosome’. In endometrium, genes involved in immunity, the inflammatory response, and apoptosis regulation were upregulated during synchronous pregnancy and, again, many genes related to extracellular exosome were differentially expressed. Interestingly, only 14 genes were differentially expressed in endometrium recovered 6 days after synchronous versus 11 days after asynchronous transfer (day 14 recipient in both). Among these, KNG1 and IGFBP3 were consistently up-regulated in synchronous endometrium. Furthermore bradykinin, an active peptide cleaved from KNG1, stimulated prostaglandin release by cultured trophectoderm cells. The horse conceptus thus responds to a negatively asynchronous uterus by extensively adjusting its transcriptome, whereas the endometrial transcriptome is modified only subtly by a more advanced conceptus.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0180.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: Trojan Horse effect; B[a]P; nC60; co-exposure; Mussels; DNA damage; proteomics
Online: 15 May 2019 (09:57:16 CEST)
This study aimed to assess the ecotoxicological effects of the interaction of fullerene (C60) and benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) on the marine mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. The uptake of nC60, B[a]P and mixtures of nC60 and B[a]P into tissues was confirmed by GC-MS, LC-HRMS and ICP-MS. Biomarkers of DNA damage as well as proteomics analysis were applied to unravel the toxic effect of B[a]P and C60. Antagonistic responses were observed at the genotoxic and proteomic level. Differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) were only identified in the B[a]P single exposure and the B[a]P mixture exposure groups containing 1 mg/L of C60, the majority of which were down-regulated (~52%). No DEPs were identified at any of the concentrations of nC60 (p < 0.05, 1% FDR). Using DEPs identified at a threshold of (p < 0.05; B[a]P and B[a]P mixture with nC60), gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis indicated that these proteins were enriched with a broad spectrum of biological processes and pathways, including those broadly associated with protein processing, cellular processes and environmental information processing. Among those significantly enriched pathways, the ribosome was consistently the top enriched term irrespective of treatment or concentration and plays an important role as the site of biological protein synthesis and translation. Our results demonstrate the complex multi-modal response to environmental stressors in M. galloprovincialis.
Subject: Biology, Forestry Keywords: Polish primitive horse, forest site type, herb layer, undergrowth layer, understory layer, biodiversity
Online: 21 March 2019 (10:04:14 CET)
The study was conducted in coniferous and deciduous old growth forests in two forest complexes located in: i) the fenced area of the Popielno Research Station of the Polish Academy of Sciences, with free-living Polish pony [Polish primitive horse (Equus ferus caballus)], and ii) open Maskulińskie Forest District managed (harvested) forest, without horses. The impact of forest animals on ground cover layer as well as on understory shrub layer and undergrowth, in i) area (horses and other forest animals) was compared with the results in ii) area (forest animals without horses). Very significant differences in the understory and undergrowth (above 0,5 m) layer vegetation communities structure between both areas and type of stands were found. The results suggest that the presence of the Polish horse substantially changed the species composition and increased the species diversity of the ground layer and shrub layer both on coniferous forest and in the deciduous forest habitats. The height of the shrub layer trees was lower by 30% in the area with the Polish horse.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201904.0104.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: 2nd, 3rd, 4th interosseous muscle; Dutch Konik; Bosnian mountain horse; donkey; Przewalski; zebra; atavism
Online: 9 April 2019 (11:32:50 CEST)
The 55-million-year history of equine phylogeny has been well documented from the skeletal record, however not the soft tissue structures that are now vestigial in modern horse. A recent study reported 2 ligamentous structures resembling functional 3rd and 4th interosseous muscles were evident in Dutch Konik horses. The current study investigates this finding and compares it to members of the genus Equus to identify either a breed anomaly or functional primitive trait. Distal limbs (n=571) were dissected from 4 species of Equus; E. caballus, E. asinus, E. przewalskii and E. burchelli beohmi. Breed representatives of E.caballus (n=18) included the primitive Dutch Konik. The 2nd and or 4th interosseous muscle was evident in all 4 species, but only 2 breeds of E.caballus expressed this trait - the Dutch Konik and Bosnian Mountain Horse. These 2 breeds were the only close descendants of the extinct Tarpan (Equus ferus ferus) represented in this study. In conclusion, the 2nd and 4th interosseous muscles originated from the distal nodule of respective splint bones and inserted into the corresponding branches of the 3rd interosseous muscle proximal to the sesamoids. Suggesting a functional role in medial and lateral joint stability and a primitive trait in modern equids.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0179.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: zoomorphic art; Saka nomadic tradition; horse and weaponry gear; etched carnelian beads; Iron Age agropastoral settlements; world-systems analysis
Online: 9 December 2022 (10:20:14 CET)
Two Iron Age settlements, Tuzusai and Taldy Bulak 2 (ca. 500 BCE to 1 CE), located in Southeastern Kazakhstan on the Talgar alluvial fan north of the Tian Shan range, have yielded a small collection of bone, antler/horn, bronze, and stone artifacts with affinity to nomadic art of the first millennium BCE. Both settlements date within the period of late Saka culture. Two pieces have decorative ornamentations with zoomorphic imagery: a small carved fragment of a with carved images of a wing and an ear and a perforated bone disk with the carving of three birds’ heads. The other artifacts include objects associated with Saka weaponry or nomadic economy such as the two antler/horn psalia (cheek pieces) and a bronze amulet. A carnelian bead will also be described as an imported object. These special finds are found on the occupation floors of mud brick houses and pit houses of settlements, not in grave or burial contexts. The objects are placed in stratigraphic sequence in the settlement sites. Then the method for placing these objects within the chronological framework of “animal-style art” is through comparisons with similar objects found throughout Eurasia—a method used in Soviet and Post-Soviet archaeology. The results show that functional and stylistic elements of the six objects indicate that the Talgar settlements were part of a larger world-system of trade and communication along the early Silk Route(s).