GPS measurements

We used the WBT-202 produced by the company Wintec for all of our GPS readings. This is unfortunately no longer available. If I had to buy a new device, I would try the Transystem G-Log 760 GPS Logger.

We put the GPS tracker inside a freezer bag, tied both ends and attached it to a collar. We use our active stabling horses’ collars (produced by HIT for computerized feeding). In addition, I braid the horse’s mane through the freezer bag and the collar to prevent the transponder from slipping around the horse’s neck.

In August 2011, we equipped several horses with a GPS tracker for 24 hours to find out how much distance the horses cover in our various free range stabling facilities. Further measurements were taken in the following years. Here are the results. The link after the number of kilometers will take you to a picture of the tracks.

Free range stabling – mixed group (24h pasture, a lot of gras): average 10,27 km

Gladdis               12./13.10.2013          11,20 km
Gaby7./8.8.2011            8,78 km
Lombardy28./29.8.20118,87 km
Desiree16./17.8.201110,07 km
Shadow19./20.8.201412,41 km

Free range stabling – gelding group 1 (24h pasture, less gras): average 10,03 km

Filou                    12./13.8.2011            10,53 km
Merlin14./15.8.201110,88 km
Pirat17./18. 8.20118,67 km

Free range stabling – diet group (4h pasture): average 5,54 km

Nedernesse       15./16.8.2011               6,14 km
Sörli       28./29.8.20114,93 km

We added a dividing fence, such that the horses has to walk a longer way, new average 6,51 km

Kim                     7./8.8.2013                 7,33 km
Gabriella16./17.6.20146,01 km
Mira19./20.9.20146,20 km

Paddock trail 1 (4h pasture): average 8,68 km

Mikado                8./9.8.2011                8,78 km
Nugget8./9.8.201110,56 km
Wanda9./10.8.20116,07 km
Dublin9./10.8.20119,53 km
Diego9./10.9.20117,33 km
Ephraim9./10.9.201111,37 km
Style In15./16.9.20117,12 km

Paddock trail 2 (4h pasture): average 9,25 km

Jeremy                 3./4.9.2013                12,2 km
Weser29./30.8.20138,2 km
Charly26./27.9.20129,11 km
Punkt20./21.8.20127,50 km

Please note: after consulting a professional surveyor, the results for the mini free range stables and especially the paddock box will probably be lower than the measurements given below. GPS trackers receive signals poorly or not at all when used inside a building. Add to this the +/- 3m inaccuracy rates specified by the manufacturers, the device will frequently record movement where there is none. For this reason, we stopped taking readings inside the boxes.

Mini free range stables (+ 4h pasture): average 5,20 km

Rubinio                 28./29.8.2011         4,08 km, (2,12 km in the stables, 1,16 km way to pasture and 0,8 km on pasture)
Armani25./26.8.20115,20 km, (3,46 km in the stables, 0,84 km way to pasture und 0,9 km on pasture)
Harmonie25./26.8.20116,33 km, (4,83 km in the stables, 0,5 km way to pasture, 1km on pasture)

Horse box with paddock (+ 4h pasture): average 3,85 km

Guiness                24./25.8.2011          3,85 km, (2,35 in box and paddock, 0,7 km way to pasture and 0,8 km on pasture)

The results up to now

  • Most of the horses make extensive use of all the space at their disposal (even if they do appear to keep only to certain spots).

  • The mini free range stables are a significant improvement on the paddock boxes.

  • Most horses will only walk to the trough 2-3 times in 24 hours. Water apparently creates less of an incentive to move than oats or hay. It also shows that horses that graze for 4 hours do not necessarily need a water supply in the grazing areas.

  • Different horses have different exercise needs. There are significant differences, even under the same weather conditions and between horses kept in the same manner.

  • Our gelding group’s active free range stable currently creates the best exercise incentive.