WHAT YOUR HORSE WANTS YOU TO KNOW ABOUT NOSEBANDS

EQUUS - - Eq Medicalfro­nt -

(Malva par-

Ref­er­ence: “Ev­i­dence for marsh mallow (Malva parv­i­flora) tox­i­co­sis caus­ing my­ocar­dial dis­ease and my­opa­thy in four horses,” Equine Ve­teri­nary Journal, June 2016

A nose­band tight enough to im­mo­bi­lize a horse’s jaw can cause mea­sur­able stress, ac­cord­ing to new re­search from Aus­tralia.

Re­searchers at Kan­doo Equine in New South Wales and the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney mea­sured stress re­sponses in 12 horses wear­ing dou­ble bri­dles with “crank” nosebands, which have a lever­aged buckle that al­lows a very tight fit and are typ­i­cally used to keep a horse’s mouth closed. None of the study horses had worn this type of bri­dle and nose­band be­fore, a choice made by re­searchers to min­i­mize any pos­si­ble ef­fects of ha­bit­u­a­tion.

Over a four-day pe­riod, each horse was bri­dled daily for 30-minute pe­ri­ods with the nose­band tight­ened to one of four lev­els for 10 minute treat­ments: • un­fas­tened (UN) • con­ven­tional area un­der nose­band (CAUN), mean­ing two fin­gers would fit be­tween the lower strap and the jaw

• half con­ven­tional area un­der nose­band (HCAUN)

• no area un­der nose­band (NAUN).

Prior to each treat­ment, the horses were placed in a test area and their be­hav­ior was filmed for 10 min­utes. At the same time, base­line phys­i­o­log­i­cal data were col­lected---the horses’ heart rates were recorded and their eye tem­per­a­tures were mea­sured via a ther­mal cam­era ev­ery minute. “The eye is the of­ten called the win­dow to the brain,” ex­plains Kate Fen­ner, BSc,

A DOU­BLE BRI­DLE WITH A CRANK NOSE­BAND

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