Battery, no WiFi, 12+ hour recording camera? (suspected insomniac horse)

For various reasons, I suspect that my horse is not getting enough recumbent sleep. The usual evidence (shavings or lack thereof in the tail, visible sleep spot in stall) is not conclusive, and I’d really like to get a video of him at night to see what’s actually going on. I’ve done a lot of googling and have no clear answers–has anyone used a system that would do the trick?

I would need the following:

  • continuous recording for at least 12 hours
  • battery powered
  • good enough night vision
  • either records to an SD card, or works with a prepaid WiFi hotspot (in which case please recommend one; we don’t have reliable or fast WiFi at the barn)
  • suitable for outdoor use (stall is on the end and may get wind/rain)
  • not too expensive

Thanks so much!

What you’re asking for doesn’t exist. 12+ hours of continuous recording takes quite a lot of power, and produces a large file. For 12+ hours of continuous recording, you’d need to wire it and have a server.

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Yeah, I looked at installing a real video monitoring system here at the house…upwards of 10k. It would’ve been really nice, but wow.

Spent a grand on Arlo & a mesh wifi network solution instead. Does what I need, but it’s irritating when it takes several minutes to pull up the cams. That ten grand system wouldn’t lag like that!

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Well this is disappointing!

Could I rig something together with a giant battery and a wired camera that records to an external hard drive? I only need to get one night of footage at a time.

This horse is turning me into an insomniac.

I think you’re probably right about the horse not lying down if there aren’t any shavings in their tail. It’s something I check in the morning, without thinking about. It looks like you want to confirm your suspicions, but I think you can move on the the action phase with assurance that something is not quite right about your horse’s stall arrangements so he isn’t comfortable enough to lay down.

Is this a new horse for you? Did you move your horse away from his buddy? Can he see outside enough to feel safe? Does he have an adjoining paddock where he can lie down instead? Is he pacing, calling, chewing wood, cribbing, weaving, or showing any stereotypic behaviors associated with boredom or stress? Can you turn him out more often? Some horses lay down in the middle of the day in a big field where they feel safest. I had a horse that would alarm people passing by because he laid flat out on his side for his noon nap. They can be quirky about their sleep preferences.

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Why not a trail cam with a HUGE memory card? It will be like a big ass time lapse, but it would tell if he lies down.


The halters are great. Then add a camera connected to a portable hard drive or a massive Memory card of some sort. You are watching it later correct and doesn’t need to be high resolution?

Thanks everyone.

Clanter, that leasable stall watch kit could be great! Unless they require an annual contract in which case it becomes a bit price prohibitive for my purposes. I’ll call them to see.

LuvmyHackney, correct, I don’t need high resolution and I don’t need live feed.

Endlessclimb, a trail camera is an option, though I’d much rather find continuous recording if I can. All the motion activated devices I have ever worked with sometimes miss the beginning of whatever motion triggered them to record, miss brief motions entirely, and have a delay between activations where they could miss something. Which means I might be able to see if he was down, but not for how long or whether he went down deliberately or had a failure of stay apparatus.

Moonlitoaksranch, you are absolutely right about all those factors. We have just changed his situation to one that I am hoping will make him more comfortable to sleep, and I’m trying to get as much information as I can about what he actually does so I can better assess what he might need to have changed for the next iteration if he doesn’t settle into the current arrangement within a reasonable period of time.

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They’re so cheap, this is still where I’d start. If you see something that warrants more investigation, then spend the dough to get continuous recording.

You can get a nest camera and buy the premium subscription with a hotspot for 24/7 recording and stores it for 10 days but for one night of recording I’d try the trail camera first.

Someone on this Reddit thread:

Says that their wyze outdoor camera goes 5-6 hours on battery & records continuously. I don’t see that as an option on the wyze description of the camera, but it’s cheap enough to try.

Otherwise, a game camera is probably your best bet.

How does this info change how you manage this horse? You might want to really consider if you can just make those changes and see if he improves.

I’ll look into the Wyze camera, thanks.

We’ve made changes for him already and I have a mental list of what we will do next if they don’t do the trick. Having night video might, depending on what it shows, affect the order in which I try other options. While I have a very understanding barn manager, every change I make causes some degree of disruption in the barn routine, so I’m willing to put a reasonable amount of money and effort towards trying to hit the right solution on the second or third iteration versus the fifth or sixth.

We just bought one of these. a 32 GB card will capture a ton of data, and it is very flexible about length of video and the desired time lapse if any between shots. It can also capture audio. Runs on AA batteries and supports solar battery pack so that’s why I bought that bundle. In testing it, it captured my barn cat’s every waltz down the hall. Worth a try for not much money.

So you don’t have any power in your barn at all? Not even with a long extension cord?

I put an overnight camera on my gelding who had a recumbent sleep disorder a couple of years ago in a barn with no wifi. I got a wifi hotspot and a Nest camera and paid for the data. Worked great and got us the information we needed. But it did need a plug.

Edited to add, it wasn’t hugely expensive and the price of all of those things has dropped since then. I did have to stop myself from watching the Nest app on my phone all night long. But I was able to scroll through the entire night’s footage the next day. It really was helpful and it’s the best way to see what’s going on overnight. I highly recommend doing it if you can.


There is power, but the nearest outlet is several stalls away: I would be running a very long extension cord across other horses’ doors. I might be able to affix it to the top so they wouldn’t have to step over it, but was hoping to find something that would be less intrusive first.

I’ll look into the Nest setup, thanks.

Yeah, I had to use a bunch of zip ties to tie up the extension. It wasn’t perfect but I had to do it.

I just went and looked- now there seems to be a battery powered Nest.

Also the Blink

And the wifi hotspot can go several hours without charging. So maybe you can get an overnight out of it. The bulk of my gelding’s activity happened between 10 -6 so maybe it will work.

What was the solution for your horse, if you don’t mind sharing?

Do you have solid 4G/5G data coverage at the barn? That will either make or break a cloud solution like Nest, which doesn’t have a local storage option.

Basically no. The place where I would be putting the hotspot is one of the places where my phone usually works, though, so there’s a chance. I’ve also ordered the trail camera recommended above. Hopefully one setup will work and I will return the other.

I’m sorry to say the camera showed he was very ill and he had to be euthanised. We found out he was collapsing up to 60 times a night and then back xrays showed he had severe kissing spines- whether it was due to the collapsing or the cause of not being able to lie down, we don’t know :frowning: