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Horse’s ears are very, very sensitive. They can hear the “snap” of a carrot or the rattle of a grain bucket at the far end of their pasture. As the delicate internal auditory structure of the horse is designed to help him hear the slightest hint of a threat and just as we would wear ear protection at a concert or around heavy machinery, we also need to protect our horses’ ears from damage associated with load noises. Enter earplugs for horses!
Just as in the human species, equine hearing can deteriorate with age, but ear protection can protect and prolong that hearing. Ear plugs also can help your horse from shying or losing focus and will help him keep calm during show day.
Ear plugs range in price and design, so it would be best to try them on your horse at home before entering the show area. Most disciplines allow plugs but many do not allow the net/plug combination. Check your rule book before ordering.
May 2013 be filled with Happiness, Prosperity and Nickers!
You all did a great job! Here are the answers to our quiz!
1. What is the junction of the sole and the wall called? (white line)
2. What is made possible by the action of bone levers, joint hinges, tendon cables and the contraction of muscles? (movement)
3. The most common cause of abortion in mares is caused by what virus? (equine herpes)
4. In horse terminology, what are “appointments”? (equipment and clothing)
5. A gene that does not show up if it is paired with a dominant gene is said to be what? (recessive)
6. When were horses introduced to the modern Olympic games? (1900)
7. Name three problems associated with overfeeding of horses. (obesity, laminitis, colic, contracted tendons, epiphysitis)
8. Where do horses get vitamin D? (sunlight and sun-cured hay)
9. Feed should always be measured and offered by what? (weight)
10. When a horse is lame in his left foreleg, when does his head nod down? (when his right front foot lands.)
11. What are the four natural aids? (voice, hands, legs, weight)
12. What are the two principle methods of self-protection utilized by the horse? (flight and fight)
13. What is meant by parturition? (delivery of foals)
14. In what performance class is the rider penalized for cueing the horse? (cutting)
15. How many yards are between the barrels in a cloverleaf pattern in barrel
racing? (1st and 2nd = 30 yards, 2nd and 3rd = 35 yards, 3rd and 1st = 35 yards)
Thank you to all our readers, you have made 2012 wonderful for us here at Tack n’ Talk! We feel so blessed that we may be able to share this endeavor with you all!
Merry Christmas everyone!
With warmest regards,
Tack n’ Talk Blog
It came upon a midnight clear that all the horses stared at the most magnificent starry night, nickered at the marvel of it all, and then quietly hoofed it back to their barn and hay-filled mangers. There was much gratifying chewing and then the eldest and wisest mare began to tell the story of how her ancestors — and particularly her long distant cousin, the donkey — were there on that special day that we now celebrate as Christmas.
Who’s to say that horses don’t have dreams of molasses cake, Jolly balls, oatmeal cookies, hot bran mash, new cozy blankets and candy-cane mints?
And, as owners, we are only too happy to oblige. Interesting enough, a British study revealed that 97 per cent of horse owners included their equines on the Christmas shopping list.
Personally, my Christmas Day always includes the barnyard critters. The horses get extra ear rubs and more hay than usual and a special bran mash. I tend to take my time doing the barn chores, as it gives me a warm glow to have them savour their meal in a cozy and clean mess hall. There’s nothing like a barn for that warm and fuzzy feeling!
So whether it’s tossing an extra flake of hay, fluffing some extra bedding, lingering just a little longer in the barn, riding your horse while hauling home the Christmas tree, or humming a favourite carol while cleaning the paddock, from my barn to yours, have a very Merry Christmas.
During this special time of year, we all love to give our 4-legged friends a special Christmas Treat. Here are some that you may find interesting. If anyone has a special recipe, please let us know and we’ll be happy to publish your receipe online.
15 mini carrots or 2 large carrots both chopped 1 cup applesauce or one chopped apple 1 packet Quaker instant oatmeal – regular
To make cookies, add a little bit of water to the oatmeal. Mix all ingredients together and put on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake for 10 minutes.
Store in a container at room temperature.
Copper loves em! And so will any other horse!!! By seacat1820
Here is a nice cookie recipe from Heather Criddle of South Carolina. She usually uses 12 percent pellets and 10 percent sweet feed mixed.
1 cup flour 1 cup molasses 1/2 (one half) cup honey 1 handful of your horse’s feed 1/2 (one half) apple, chopped 1 cup water
Mix all together until it looks like mashed potatoes. Roll into small balls and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. This is a two in one treat. Your horse will love them, and it will leave your house smelling good!
Strawberry’s Special Burrito
1 regular burrito 2 large carrots 1 large apple Molasses
Cut the carrots into little pieces and put them on the burrito. Cut the apple into bite size pieces and place them on the apple. Make sure the carrots and apples are mixed together. Then pour molasses in to make it gooey. Horses love them. (given to this page in honor of Strawberry who was put to sleep. I miss her very much) Rachel Wilson
Casper’s Trail Mix
1 or 2 crushed pretzels 1/2 (one half) carrot shredded 1 handful of Quaker Oats 1 handful of honey and oats cereal 1/4 (one fourth) apple cut in small pieces
Mix up in a bowl. Put in a plastic baggie. Store in refrigerator until served. Great for the trails or just to give to your horse as a treat. My horse loves it and yours will too. Jacquelyn Forscht
Casper’s Oat Cookies
1/2 (one half) cup of flour 1/4 (one quarter) teaspoon of baking powder 1/4 (one quarter) teaspoon of baking soda 1/4 (one quarter) cup of oil 1/4 (one quarter) cup of granulated sugar 1/4 (one quarter) cup of brown sugar 1 tablespoon of milk 1/4 (one quarter) teaspoon of vanilla 1/2 (one half) cups of uncooked regular Quaker Oats oatmeal 1 1/2 (one and one half) grated carrots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Don’t grease the cookie sheet. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. After baked, let it cool and sit out for about 1 hour. Put in a plastic baggie and store at room temperature. Then serve and let your horse enjoy. All horses will love this special treat. Jacquelyn Forscht.
Casper’s Dry Treat
3 handfuls of oat and honey cereal 1/2 (one half) handful of crushed cheerios 1/2 (one half) handful of bran 1/2 (one half) large carrot grated 1 handful of uncooked regular Quaker oatmeal
Put in a small bowl. Put lid on bowl and shake or mix well with a spoon. When done mixing, put in a plastic baggie and store in the refrigerator until served. Then let your horse enjoy! This mix is great for lunch break on the trails. Jacquelyn Forscht
Casper’s Carrot Cake
1 cup of sugar 1 cup of light brown sugar 1 cup of flour 1 cup of bran 1 teaspoon of baking powder 1 teaspoon of baking soda 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 3 cups of grated carrots 1 1/2 (one and one half) cups of corn oil 4 eggs 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 1 apple, cut in little pieces
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 13 by 9 inch baking pan. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and then add carrots, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until there are no lumps. Pour into prepared baking pans, and bake for about one hour. Check often. Remove from pan when cool. Garnish with apple slices sprinkled with brown sugar. Serve cool. Jacquelyn Forscht
Dixie’s Delights 1 cup oats 1/2 cup sweet feed 1 carrot grated (cut in small pieces) Molasses
Mix the oats and sweet feed together first. Stir in the carrot pieces. Just add enough molasses to make it just past gooey. Stir well and feed. Rachel
50 small carrots (cut up) 1 cup of molasses 1 1/2 (one and one half) cup of any grain 10 sugar cubes 1 cup of oats
Mix in a large to medium bowl. Smedly loves it. Enjoy!
Baby’s Bran Mash
1 cup sweet feed 1 cup plain oatmeal A double handful of grain Applesauce A shredded Carrot 1 tablespoon molasses
Mix the oatmeal, sweet feed, and grain together. Mix together and boil until mushy. Check it often. When mushy, pour into a bucket. I use my horse’s feed bucket. Now pour in the applesauce and shredded carrot. Mix together. Add the molasses and mix. Now it’s ready to give to your horse! Paige Farris
Pacos Bill’s Horse Cookies
You do not need exact amounts
Oatmeal Sweet Feed Molasses Applesauce Cookie cutters if desired
Pour sweet feed, oatmeal, applesauce, and molasses together. Mix up until it looks pretty good. Pour out onto a pan, and put it in the oven until light brown at 350 degrees. Check every few minutes. Take out and let cool for about 5 minutes. Use cookie cutters to cut into shapes after cooled. Give to your horse! Paige Farris
Harley’s Sweet Treats
2 1/2 cups of sweet feed or 1 1/2 (one and one half cups of sweet feed and 1 cup of oats) 1 2/3 cups of flour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of molasses 1 1/2 cups of water 1 1/2 cups of Malt O Meal
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with Pam or butter. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon. Add wet ingredients to bowl. Mix with electric mixer on medium until batter is mixed well. Batter will be thick. Spoon batter onto cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Mix batter between batches. After baking refrigerate cookies.
Your horses will love them. I know mine do. Erika
The next two horse treat recipes are for disabled or older horses.
My horse Al Capone broke his mouth on the race track some years ago but still has trouble eating regular horse food (don’t feel sorry. He almost went to the Olympics for show jumping shortly after his jaw healed). Here are some special horse treats for special horses like my Al. anniebo1212
Al’s Carrot Oatmeal
Ingredients: Shredded Carrots Regular Quaker Oatmeal
Instructions: Cook the Quaker Oatmeal (regular flavor only). Sprinkle little shredded carrots on top. THERE YOU GO! A special winter treat for your horse! Al sure loves it!
Al’s Special Milkshake
Ingredients: Your regular horse grain Hot water A mixer or masher device of some kind Shredded carrots, apples, or molasses (optional)
Instructions: Heat a quarter bucket of water. Mix the grain and water. Take your mixer or masher and mix into a fine gruel. If you want, add shredded carrots, shredded apples, and molasses. Al loves this stuff! Don’t give them a lot of it though or your horse might get a tummy ache. Only give about a bowl full. Put it in the feed bucket.
1/4 cup molasses 1/4 cup water 2 cups sweet feed 1 cup Quaker oats 1 handful bran
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water and molasses. Mix until all grain is covered in molasses. Spoon the mixture into well greased mini muffin tins. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the center if fairly hard. These treats last forever and are great for trails as they don’t smush. Lindsay J.
HORSE OR HUMAN TREATS
1 cup oatmeal 1 cup flour 1/2 (one half) cup wheat germ oil 1 cup water 1/2 (one half) cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 1 apple, peeled 2 large carrots, finely chopped 2/3 (two thirds) cup dark molasses 10 peppermints, crushed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, and bake until crispy and dry. Horses love ‘em and so do humans!!
ALI’S FAVORITE TREAT
1 cup of Legends sweet feed 1 cup of bran 2/3 (two thirds) cup of dry oatmeal 1/3 (one third) cup of syrup 1 apple cut into slices 2 big carrots cut into chunks 5 sugar cubes 1 cup of water
Mix right in your horse’s feed bucket. My horses love it, and so will yours! Marshall Clement
E-Z SWEET FEED
2 apples chopped into quarters 2 shredded carrots 2 carrots chopped into quarters 2 cups molasses horse oats
Mix all ingredients then add the molasses. ALL horses love it. Windy
BUDDY’S YUM YUM TREATS
applesauce quick oats oatmeal cookies carrots, shredded
Mix together in a medium sized bowl: 1 can smooth or chunky applesauce 1 1/2 (one and one half) cups Quick Oats
Place oatmeal cookies on your countertop in a row. Cover the cookies with the applesauce/oatmeal mix. Sprinkle shredded carrots on top, and refrigerate the cookies until used. Horses devour these treats, and they are simple to make. Megan H of Pennsylvania
1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup horse mix [I use horse power] 1/2 cup bran 1 cup lucerne chaff 1 cup oaten chaff 3 cups molasses
Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl; mix well, your hand are the best too mix this with. Put into a cake tin and flatten down. Put into preheated oven for 1 hour at 180C or 350 degrees. Take out of the oven and let the cake cool carefully as the molasses really sticks. When cool, add a little more molasses over the top and serve. Your horse will really love you.!!!! Regards Val Lapham
STUFFED MOLASSES APPLES
2-3 apples 1 cup of bran 1 shredded carrot 1/3 cup molasses 1/2 cup sweet feed 1 green carrot top 1/2 cup cob grain or cracked corn
Core the apples, removing as much of the center as possible. In a large bowl, mix the carrot with the bran, molasses, sweet feed and cob grain. If necessary, add more molasses. The mix should have a stiff consistency. Scoop the mixture into the cored apples and garnish with carrot top. Serve in feed bucket. Emily Shoemaker
RAINY DAY TREAT
1 apple sliced 2 carrots chopped 1 or 2 cups grain Alfalfa flakes 1/4 – 1/3 cup molasses 2 handfulls chopped cow cake (optional)
Mix together and feed
4-5 cups dry oatmeal 2-3 cups applesauce 2 eggs 1/2 stick of butter 1-1 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda chopped apples and carrots (optional)
Blend all together until mixture forms. Stir in apples and carrots. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, let cool.
You need: 1 large bowl molasses Stale bread Cookie cutters (optional} Sugar
Directions: Pour molasses in a bowl, cut pieces of bread with a cookie cutter, soak bread in molasses 10 seconds. Preheat oven to 350, sprinkle sugar on a greased cookie sheet, and bake for 1 hour.
OATIE SWEET FEED BARS
1/3 cup oats 1/3 cup sweet feed 1/3 cup molasses 1/3 cup flour
Directions: Mix ingredients in a bowl as listed. Take tin foil and mold into a rectangle about 2 inches wide and about 6 inches long with sides about an inch and a half high. Spray tin foil with Pam. Scoop ingredients into tin foil. Put on a pan and place in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes. Let cool in the freezer for 15 minutes. Turn tin foil over and the bar should fall out. My horse loves these and hopefully yours will too! Makes 1 bar.
SASSY, LADY, AND EMILY’S HOLIDAY BRAN MASH
3 pounds bran – you can buy wheat or oat bran at the grocery store 1.5 pounds sweet feed (optional) 1 box apple and cinnamon oatmeal 1 box maple and brown sugar oatmeal 1 big can of regular flavor oatmeal 1 box Kellogg’s Craklin’ oat bran cereal 9 carrots 3 apples bag of horse nibbles large jar of grandmas molasses – room temperature -or- log cabin maple syrup hot water
Take three buckets, divide all dry ingredients equally among the 3 buckets. Add hot water to just above the mixture, let steep 10 to 15 minutes. Add generous amount of molasses to each bucket, stir, drizzle a little bit just on top and serve. Be sure it’s not too hot before serving.
My retired Belgian thoroughbred cross likes this really soupy, but my girls like it better when it has a thicker consistency; so you can add more or less water to your horse’s preference. This is meant as a replacement of a meal. I feed it for breakfast on Christmas morning instead of their regular grain ration. Happy Holidays! Michelle Drum
Ingredients: 1 and 1/2 cups sweetfeed 1 and 1/2 cups oats 1 and 2/3 cups flour 3/4 cup molasses 1 and 1/2 cups water (add more as needed) 4 tablespoons crushed peppermints 1 and 1/2 cups crushed rice chex Instructions: Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then add the molasses and water. Using an electric mixer helps, the dough is quite thick. Plop on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes. Refrigerate in between batches and mix often. Kassi Zuerner and Lydia Thomas
KC’S HOMEMADE HORSE TREATS
1 cup of oatmeal 1 handful of Cheerios honey
Crush Cheerios in small pieces. Put the oatmeal and cheerios in a dish and spread honey all over. With your hands, make into small balls and put in the refrigerator over night… Horses love ‘em.
Molasses or honey Sweet feed Bran Rolled oats Water Flour Flax seed Oat bran 12 grain cereal Dried apple pomace is optional (small pieces of dried fruit)
Mix ingredients together in a bowl until they stick together but are not sticky to the touch. Let stand at least 15 minutes before feeding to the horses. My horses go absolutely CRAZY for them! These are the best treats ever made for horses! Tie
ZEP’S SPECIAL DAY TREATS
Ingredients: 1 packet of Quaker oatmeal (dry) 1 handful of sweet feed 2 spoonfuls applesauce 1 spoonful honey or molasses 1 handful Cherrios 4 sugar cubes a pinch of brown sugar ½ cup water
You can mix this right in your horse’s feed bucket. Mix the oatmeal with the water. Add sweet feed and applesauce. Stir together. Add the Cheerios, brown sugar, and honey or molasses. Mix again and place sugar cubes on top. This serves one horse.
Ingredients: 1 cup uncooked oatmeal 1 cup flour 1 cup shredded carrots 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons corn oil ¼ (one quarter) cup water ¼ (one quarter) cup molasses
Mix ingredients in a bowl in the order listed. Make small balls and place on cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Horses love ‘em!
I was planning on making horse treats but found out I didn’t have any molasses! So I invented these and even one of the pickiest of my horses likes them.
3 small to medium apples, peeled 3 medium sized carrots, peeled 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups of uncooked Quaker oats 3 slices of plain white bread 3/4 cup of powdered sugar 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
These measurements don’t have to be precise I know mine sure weren’t! 1. Shred the apples and put them in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. 2. Shred the carrots and combine them with the apples. 3. Pour in the rest of the sugar. 4. Mix in the Quaker oats. 5. One at a time tear apart the bread into tiny pieces and drop into the mixture. 6. Add the powdered sugar. 7. Stir in the water. 8. Stir in the vegetable oil and mix well.
If the mixture looks too thin, add more oats. If it looks too thick, add more water. Only do this about a tablespoon at a time. Oil two cookie sheets, and put the batter on them by spoonfuls. They should be an inch and a half apart. Bake for 17 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown. Let cool and serve them to your horse. If you have molasses, you could drizzle some over the treats; and put them in the refrigerator. Crazyhorse
Ingredients: 4 cups of sweet feed or oats 1 cup of molasses or honey 2 carrots cut into carrot sticks 1 apple cut into slices
Directions: Mix the honey and sweet feed or oats together in a big bowl. When fully mixed, place the mixture on a plate and shape into the form of a birthday cake. Use the carrots as candles and the apple slices as decorations. Horses really enjoy this sticky but delicious treat.
APPLE HORSE COOKIES
Ingredients: 1 cup margarine 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup bran 1 cup diced carrots 1 cup diced apples 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups quick cooking rolled oats 2 eggs
Directions: Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, bran and baking soda. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in oats, carrots, and apples. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool. Makes about 4 dozen.
APPLE CINNAMON SOUP
1 packet of apple cinnamon Quaker Oatmeal 2 apples, sliced 2 handfuls of Cracklin Oat Bran Cereal 1/2 (one half) of a small jar of apple sauce 3 cups of bran or the amount that you think suitable for your horse Add cinnamon and sugar if desired
Mix with hot water until you get a gooey soup. Submitted by Susan Kovac
What do you do if your equine friend tests negative for horse ulcers but continues to have problems? Well, he might still have horse ulcers…the tests just may not be able to detect the ulcers. Like the term “colic,” the term “horse ulcer” covers a wide variety of issues related to the gut. The term “horse ulcer” really refers to inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract.
Types of Horse Ulcers
The gastric or stomach ulcer is the most common form, which can be diagnosed by an endoscope or by a positive response to acid-blocking medications. But horse ulcers can also occur in the small intestine or even in the hind gut and are usually not found by the same methods.
If your horse has inflammation in his gut caused by disruption in the levels of beneficial bacteria in his gut, he may also test negative for ulcers but still have a pain in his gut.
The healthy bacteria in a horse’s gut fill in all the spaces between the tiny, nutrient absorbing folds and they provide extra protection from irritating substances. When the numbers of healthy bacteria decrease, the intestinal lining is more easily damaged by stomach acid, bile salts, digestive enzymes or acids formed during digestion.
Finding the Location of the Horse Ulcer
Since the symptoms of ulcers anywhere in the gut can be similar, you can more easily locate where your horse was having the problem so you can target your treatment.
Knowing your horse’s Five Element Temperament Type can be a huge shortcut, since each type tends to form ulcers or have inflammation in specific areas of the gut.
Fire Horse: This type of horse is likely to have more problems in the small intestine. The prebiotic KLPP, used with or without UF, is your most effective first choice for treatment.
Earth and Wood Horses: These types are often the ones with an actual stomach ulcer. The pre- and probiotic formula APA is very helpful for ulcer prevention. Stomach Soother seems to be a great choice for Earth and Wood horses who already have ulcers.
Metal and Water Horses: These horses seem to have more issues with hind gut ulcers, which are difficult to diagnose with traditional methods. These types do well with APA and the probiotic bifidus. The product Succeed can also be a huge help for treating ulcers for these horses.
Horse Ulcers: Which Types Show Pain?
Remember that some types will show more pain relating to the inflammation in their gut. Fire and Water horses are the most dramatic about telling you that “something is wrong.” The Wood and Earth temperament types will complain but still work in pain. The Metal horse is the most stoic. He may not show any symptoms other than tightness through the ribcage but still have major inflammation in his hind gut.
Should you worry about horse ulcers? Yes, especially if your horse is in work or training. It is a safe bet to say that any performance horse is dealing with some level of digestive inflammation and needs daily pre- and probiotic support appropriate to his type.
If you don’t know your horse’s element type you can find out on this free test atwww.horseharmonytest.com
Holistic Horse October 2012
It’s getting darker each day and also getting colder. Now is a good time to prepare your barn for the cold spell around the corner.
Prepare the barn
- Prepare for the worst — snow! While enjoying the crisp autumnal weather, it’s hard to remember last year’s snow and the difficulties it brought. However, the chances are that at some point this winter, we’ll get a sprinkling of snow, so it’s best to be ready for it. Order in grit now as it’ll turn to gold dust when the snow does arrive.
- Now’s a good time to start putting stone in field gateways to stop them getting clogged up when the ground starts to get wet. When the mud sets in, old bedding (shavings work well) can be used to soak up some of the damp.
- Did your water pipes freeze last year? Insulating them now will save you the hassle further down the line. If you electrical can take the load, consider purchasing heated buckets for those really cold winter nights.
- Do you have rubber matting? If you don’t, seriously consider investing in some. Although it’s an expense, it’ll really make a difference as winter wears on. Not only will it be warmer and more comfortable for your horse, it’ll make their stable easier to muck out too. It’s also worth considering having a deep litter bed and taking the wet out once a week to save time.
By: Larissa Cox
Are you searching for control, obedience and connection with your horse? If you are truly looking for cooperation and communication with your horse, why would you consider tightening the noseband on your horse while riding?
Nosebands evolved many years ago with the practical solution keeping the jaws of horses from clattering as they galloped into war laden with heavy armor. The design of the modern noseband, however, evolved to limit the horse from opening his mouth and giving the rider more sensitive control over the bit. Fitted correctly, nosebands do just that, but fitted improperly, they cause much pain. Recent research notes that horses wearing tight nosebands undergo a physiological stress response, are sensitized to bit pressure and may have reduced blood flow with potential to cause injuries and tissue damage including nasal bone deformities even when padding is used in the so-called crank nosebands.
Over the last few decades, there has been a steady increase in the design of nosebands to effectively mask the evidence of a horse’s discomfort and pain. The International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) states “that the practice of over tightening nosebands to avoid penalties in competition is covering up poor training at the expense of horse welfare for there is an incentive for riders to over-tighten nosebands as the rules of dressage penalize displays of discomfort such as opening mouths and lolling tongues”. These rules were written by the sport’s governing bodies to promote excellent training and the demonstration of qualities such as freedom, harmony lightness and acceptance of the bit without tension. Restrictive tight nosebands can prevent the horse from displaying unwanted behaviours such as opening, gaping or crossing the jaw and are enabling competitors to mask those signs of tension which judges look for as evidence of inferior training. Thus is has been suggested that nosebands may hinder effective judging.
Hayley Randle, PhD presented a recent study at the October 2011 ISES conference, which I attended, stating “noseband tightness definitely seems to increase sensitivity to the bit, as it has an effect on rein tension applied to achieve medium contact. This suggests that noseband tightening makes the horse more sensitive to the bit. Essentially, tightening the noseband just one hole appears to reduce the amount of rein tension needed to maintain bit contact.”
The ISES recommends the return to the established practice of placing “two fingers” under the noseband and that a standard taper gauge should be used by stewards at competitions. The taper gauge should be placed without force at the nasal midline and be clearly marked to show the desired stop. It has been suggested that with the taper gauge, stewards could ensure that the detrimental effects of over-tightened nosebands could be eliminated or at least lessened.
Horses are very sensitive social beings and their noses are more sensitive than our finger tips. Horses rely on smell and touch for much of their communication and social bonding, so tying up the nerves in discomfort rather than allowing them to be used the way nature designed them to be is counter productive of the goal of proper training. Although nosebands may look good and are a part of equestrian history, we all need to educate ourselves on the science of communication between horse and rider.
This article was originally published in August 2009. It has now been dusted off and re-published as part of November 2011′s “You Look Familiar” Series. Enjoy!
Thank you to all who entered Tackn’ Talk Blog’s Summer Fun Photo Contest! It looks like you all had a blast out in the sun!
Photos were judged by Larissa Cox and Libby Keenan of Tack n’ Talk Blog, and Paula Leavitt of Be A Girl Today. Photos were selected based on photographic merit and how well they fit the contest theme of “equestrian summer fun”.
And now, to present the winners:
“Trail ride on the beach” sent in by Robin Shen
Robin will be receiving either a T-shirt or Tote bag from the Be A Girl Today collection. Great job Robin!
“Reno and boys” sent in by Sonya Malecky Spaziani
“Squeeky” sent in by Tricia Meteer
“Silver’s bath” sent in by Melissa Boyes
“At the Canter” sent in by Robin Shen
“Amelia” sent in by Theresa graziano
“Friends” sent in by Jenny Sweedler
For a full list of all Semi-Finalists of Tack n’ Talk Blog’s Summer Fun Photo Contest, check out the Tack n’ Talk Facebook Page!
Thank you to all who submitted photos! Watch out for more contests coming in the near future on Tack n’ Talk Blog!
Have a wonderful summer! Happy Riding All!!!
~ Larissa and Libby