Not Horsing Around

Stable owner protects assets with up-to-date technologies

Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania’s horse country in southern Chester County, you will find a town called Oxford. In this rural and highly Amish-populated area is Anecia Delduco’s Second Nature Farm. This 25-acre property has been in business for 15 years and is home to many four-legged friends.

On any given day you’ll find around 25 horses on the grounds, some belonging to Second Nature Farm and some being boarded there by other riders. There are five buildings on the property, not including horse housing. There are 19 stalls in all the barns and five run-ins.

If you had asked Anecia Delduco if she could have imagined her horse farm would grow to become such a successful operation when she started off, she most likely would have answered simply: No. Today, she has established herself and her business in the horse world and has realized how difficult it is to keep an eye on everything at once.

A Watchful Eye
There is an obvious need to constantly watch over every bit of the property for both animal and human safety. Not only do accidents happen in regard to rider-horse mishaps, but there also are many health concerns involved in the horse world. The main one is colic. Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, which is commonly gastrointestinal in nature, and 10 percent of the occurrences prove to be fatal without swift surgical intervention.

For this reason, it is imperative that there are always eyes on each horse. Second Nature Farm also has birthed 10 foals over its 15-year span, Delduco doesn’t exactly get to schedule when it happens.

Delduco came up with the idea to use a surveillance system to help her keep track of particular stalls without always having to physically visit the barn. Second Nature Farm is now outfitted with an IP-based surveillance system using Basler Vision Technologies IP cameras.

One of the main reasons for installing the system was low-light monitoring. Even in low-light environments, down to 0.35 lux, such as a barn stall at night, images are clear. This is due primarily to the use of CCD sensors in all cameras.

Quality And Ease of Use
It also was key that SNF provide image quality. The IP cameras are available in resolutions from VGA to 2 megapixels. Perhaps what made the system most appealing was the ease of installation. All cameras came with the software needed to use the cameras with any computer connected to the Internet.

Knowing that these were ranchers with barns full of horses, ease of use was critical. The software provides an easy-to-use graphical user interface to adjust all camera settings and access to the Internet was equally valuable. The cameras can be used from anywhere in the world via the Internet.

“We simply mounted the cameras, connected them to the Internet, located them online using the Basler camera finder -- which finds the camera’s IP address -- and we had incredible high-quality video running on our computers,” Delduco said. “ I also like the ability to view my property from anywhere just by connecting to the Internet with my laptop.”

Safe And Secure
By using Basler IP cameras, it has become easier for Delduco to monitor the well-being of her horses in general and, more importantly, any horse recovering from illness or those that are pregnant. Quite often the mares give birth at night. The low-light sensitivity of the Basler cameras allow Delduco to view dimly lit stalls multiple times a night from her home office computer. This is much more convenient than multiple trips to the barn, particularly in bad weather.

Second Nature Farm belongs to many organizations and affiliations, including the United States Dressage Federation, United States Equestrian Federation, Delaware Valley Combined Training Association and American Junior Paint Horse Association.

All of these organizations are as serious about safety as Delduco. Second Nature Farm’s staff of experienced riders also gives an average of 35 lessons per week and aids in buying and selling dozens of horses annually. All things taken into account, it is clear why Second Nature Farm chose this technology to help maintain a safe and secure operation.

This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Security Today.

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