New mobile device app assists horse owners with body condition scoring
Purdue University, the University of Nebraska and eXtension HorseQuest have collaborated to create a mobile device application (app) designed to help horse owners body condition score their animals.
“We are super excited about this app,” states Colleen Brady, Extension horse specialist at Purdue University. “It is available on android and iOS systems.”
Learning about scoring
The app includes two functions, with both a learning component and a scoring component. Users can access both functions by clicking on buttons that appear on the bottom right corner of the screen when the app is opened.
“One of the things that is unique about this app is that it not only provides us with a tool to manage and observe our particular horses, we can also use it to learn how to body condition score,” she notes.
The app also includes a link to the eXtension HorseQuest learning networks website, where additional information can be found about what body condition scoring is and how it can be done.
“That page gives quite an extensive lesson with more information than is included in the app if horse owners wish to learn more,” she says.
Links to YouTube videos can also be found within the app under the learning component of the program.
“When we go into the scoring component, we have the ability to take pictures of our horses, score those horses and maintain those images to keep records for them,” Brady continued.
Each photo is tagged with the date, and if a network connection and location services are available, the GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken will be included as well.
“This is even something that, if we’re in a situation where we see a horse we are concerned about, we could actually take a photo and share it with whoever is involved with addressing some of those issues in our community,” she suggests.
Records can be kept for multiple animals, and multiple photos can be taken of each horse. Once the photos are uploaded to the user’s device, the user can then review descriptions of each body area that is analyzed to body condition score the animal.
“This app is designed to help manage our horses. We have to do the actual scoring, which involves touching the horse, but then we can record all of the scores in the app,” she remarks.
In addition to the mobile app, a desktop component can be downloaded onto a computer. The systems can be linked together, so information collected out in the barn is then available on the desktop.
One of the features of the desktop version is a print button, which allows horse owners to have a hard copy of their records, complete with photos and body condition score information.
“That allows us to keep a notebook or catalogue of the different horses that we have,” she notes. “If I wanted to include my pictures with the horse’s health record, I could do that too.”
New records can be added or deleted from the app, so users have access to the horses they are working with on their operation.
“If I have a horse that I want to remove, all I need to do is click on the trashcan found on the screen, down in the bottom corner,” she states.
The app developers hope their tool will give horse owners an easy way to assess the body condition of their animals and keep records to review past images if they begin to see any health concerns with their animals.
“If anyone works with youth groups, this is a great thing because kids are all about being able to do stuff on their phones,” she adds. “Being able to help young people learn is really important.”
For horse owners who would like to learn more about using the app, the development team has also created a video to walk users through the various options and tabs that can be found within the program.
Brady reviews the app functions in a step-by-step video at tinyurl.com/bcsapp. The app itself can be found on the eXtension website at tinyurl.com/horseapps.
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.