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An investigation into the oro-nasal pressures used in the control of the ridden horse
Doherty, Orla M.
The control and training of horses is achieved through the application of physical pressures on the body of the horse. However, the levels of pressure exerted by most equitation equipment in use have not been measured. Welfare concerns exist regarding the levels of pressure exerted by some equipment in use, and the use of sustained pressures. Regulation by governing authorities is difficult until pressure levels and their possible consequences have been investigated. A survey of equipment used by 861 show jumping riders identified the most popular bits, nosebands and other devices in use. A study of the type and location of surface changes to a range of bits as a result of wear identified suitable locations to place pressure-sensing technology. Noseband tightness measurements were taken of 750 competition horses in 3 countries. These data showed a strong preference by riders to use extremely tight nosebands in competition. Two approaches to measuring sub-noseband pressures were developed. Facial curvature data and noseband force measurements generated by a strain gauge inserted into the noseband were used to predict pressures exerted by the noseband at a range of locations. Placement of pressure transducers at various locations beneath the noseband and on the bit, along with the use of wireless technology allowed data to be collected from bit and noseband sensors while the horse was being ridden. Output from sensors in both locations was pulsatile, with highest pressure peaks corresponding to a range of events including transitions, jumping efforts, head tossing and resistances. Such events resulted in pressure peaks from noseband sensors exceeding 1400 mmHg with lower pressure peaks recorded from bit sensors. Following development of an electronic noseband force measurement probe, noseband force measurements were carried out on two groups of horses (n=23) while nosebands were at three different noseband settings. Mean noseband force measurements of 63 N were recorded from nosebands at the tightest fitting. Thermographic measurement of eye temperatures taken from the second group of horses (n=8) showed a small but statistically significant increase in eye temperature at the tightest noseband setting. This research identifies substantial pressure levels exerted by nosebands, describes methods of measuring sub-noseband pressures, and also of monitoring and regulating noseband tightness levels in competition.
Keyword(s): oro-nasal pressure; horses; show-jumping
Publication Date:
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University of Limerick
Publisher(s): Univesity of Limerick
Supervisor(s): Arkins, Sean
Casey, Vincent
First Indexed: 2017-09-06 06:35:13 Last Updated: 2018-04-05 06:33:14