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Study of the heart rate and energy expenditure of ponies during transport
  1. O. Doherty, MVB, MSc, MRCVS1,1,
  2. M. Booth, BSc, MPhil2,
  3. N. Waran, BSc, PhD, IERM3,
  4. C. Salthouse4 and
  5. D. Cuddeford, BSc, MSc, PhD2
  1. 1 Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG
  2. 2 Veterinary Field Station, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG
  3. 3 University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh
  4. 4 Warwickshire College of Agriculture, Moreton Morrell, Warwick


The energy expenditure and heart rate of five Shetland ponies were measured during transport and compared with the values recorded while they were at rest and walking. Secondary aims of the study were to investigate whether there was any correlation between heart rate and energy expenditure and whether different orientations affected the values to different degrees. The measurements were recorded at one-minute intervals while the ponies were at rest, walking and being transported in four different orientations, on journeys lasting 30 minutes. There were significant increases (P<0.001) in both heart rate and energy expenditure during transport which were similar to those associated with walking, and there was a strong correlation between the two measurements. There was no conclusive evidence that orientation affected the measurements, but it appeared that rear facing transport might have had the least effect.

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  • Ms Doherty's present address is Staffordstown House, Navan, County Meath, Ireland

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