Fun Activities

On The Job

Environments - HORSE MANAGER    



Managing a mare’s reproductive cycle. Innovative technology - wearable technology - can help this process but is it worth it?

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability



1. Being a Horse Manager requires that you are "up" on the latest technology in breeding. In an industry that is very conservative this can sometimes be difficult to achieve. You need to assess or evaluate any new technology to see if it would work for you and your horses.

You are to read about a mare's reproductive cycle, the effects of light on this cycle, and, an innovative way to modify the cycle with a light mask "Equilume" in the following articles:  Reading

The Equine Chronicle 15 March 2016

Equine Chronicle

The Horse 15 August 2015

The Horse
Equine Reproduction: Inducing Early Cyclicity in Mares

Inducing early cyclicity in mares
Shedding new light on breeding and broodmare management by Barbara Murphy (very detailed and also explains the results on foal development)


2. Write down all the facts about

  • a mare's reproductive cycle
  • what a horse manager did in the past to influence this reproductive cycle
  • How and why did Dr Barbara Murphy invent this product?
  • the technology and research behind the Equilume
  • Other effects on the mare and the foal
  • Any concerns about this technology

3. Even though Dr Barbara Murphy studied Chronobiology - investigating how daily and seasonal changes in the light/dark cycle influence a horse’s physiology - at university and developed the wearable technology Equilume, there were and are difficulties selling it to the community as shown in the article in ThinkBusiness by Peter Brady, CEO of Equilume:

Think Business

List the challenges faced by Equilume. Have they been overcome?

What is the cost of using Equilume? Does it outway the resultant foal cost or the mare remaining in the field (not putting the mare into the stables)?

4. You are to create an information website about Horse Management around Mare Reproductive Cycles and Light using Wix for Australian Horse Managers. Remember that in Australia, horses birthday is 1st August.



How will you encourage other technology advances to be viewed positively by the Australian Horse Managers?

5. Discussion

Discuss as a class:

"Should we have nominated a certain date for all horses to have their birthdays?

What are the ramifications for Horse Managers for either the certain date or the date the foals were born on as the registered birthday date?"




The Horse Grimace Scale and Horse Behaviour

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking



1. As Horse Managers, you need to know alot about horse behaviour. In the The Conversation 13 May 2016, the writers talk about the Horse Grimace Scale [HGS] developed by Costa et al in Reading 2014:

The Conversation


Grimace Scale

As a result of research, Dr Michela Minero, joined in the study by Emanuela Dalla Costa, Dirk Lebelt, Diana Stucke, Elisabetta Canali, and Matthew Leach, assessed six “facial actions units” as being responses to pain:

  • Stiffly backward ears
  • Orbital tightening
  • Tension above the eye area
  • Strained chewing muscles
  • Strained mouth and pronounced chin
  • Strained nostrils, and flattening of the profile

Each indicator is scored on a scale of 0-2, with 0 meaning not present, 1 meaning moderately present, and 2 meaning obviously present, giving any one horse a maximum rating on the Horse Grimace Scale of 12.

For example: Look at the following assessment of these two horses before and after an operation:


(Source: Horse Talk)

Previously, Horse Managers were able to see pain in horses through other general non-specific indicators such as decrease in normal activity, lowered head carriage, fixed stare, rigid stance and reluctance to move.

2. Look at the following horses' faces - what HGS number would you give each horse?

Horse face

3. Go and have a look at the horses you have contact with. Provide each of them with a HGS number.

4. Compare your number with a partner. Are they the same? Why? Why not?




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