Lesions associated with bits, nosebands, spurs and whips
The purpose of this study was to record the use and type of spurs, bits, nosebands and whips, and to measure noseband tightness in competition horses, and to relate these findings with the frequency of lesions associated with their use.
For the study a total of 3143 horse-rider combinations were evaluated during Danish Equestrian Federation competitions representing four different disciplines. Measurements were carried out post-competition by trained evaluators who recorded the presence and type of spurs, bits, nosebands, and whips. Further evaluations recorded noseband tightness and the presence of hair, blood, lesions or swelling around/on spurs, ribcage, lips and limbs.
Results showed that the presence of hair and blood on spurs were highly associated with injury. In the lower competitions levels longer spurs were associated with hair on the spur and worn hair on the horse’s ribcage. Regarding the use of bits oral injuries or blood were visible at the commissures of the lips in 9.2% of the horses and increased with level of competition. However, no differences were found between bit types or bitless bridles. The use of a cavesson noseband was found to be beneficial, provided it was not adjusted tightly.
The results of this study are intended to provide information that can assist in the development of rules that will protect horses from injuries associated with the use of specific items of tack and equipment.
What do you think of the use of spurs and whips?
Do you use spurs and whips yourself?
What do you think must be changed in the industry to prevent such injuries?
> From: Uldahl et al., Equine Vet J 0 (2018) 1-9. All rights reserved to EVJ Ltd. Click here for the online summary.