Today was just one of those days! The days where nothing quite goes to plan, you feel unappreciated and as if everything is a losing battle. So, I came home ready to curl in a ball, take a large pot of Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer, make a duvet fort to live in forever and then I saw this article – “Use of Spurs, nosebands, bits and draw reins in competition called into question.”
Well done Horse and Hound, you saved me from a life in a duvet fort!
A Finish organisation catchily named Operantit Ratsastajat Ry, who are dedicated to improving the welfare of horses and riders, have done research and have put these proposals forward:
1. Use of the noseband to be voluntary in all dressage classes
2. Determining the greatest allowed tightness of the noseband and measuring noseband tightness at competitions
3. Allowing the use of bitless bridles in all dressage classes
4. Allowing the use of snaffle bridles in all dressage classes
5. Prohibiting the use of draw reins in the warmup at competitions in all disciplines
6. Use of spurs to be voluntary in all dressage classes
Before anyone gets defensive – please read more about their research here.
I think everyone should have the right to chose how they train their horses but I think education and openly available research is so important so everyone can make an informed decision.
I also feel that not enough is done for the welfare of horses at competitions. Facebook comments about this article include “What a joke. If any horse looked in pain or uncomfortable at a show then the rider would be pulled up on it.” Yes major abuse is not tolerated but who is there to stop unnecessarily tight nosebands? Or pressure causing ulcers? Surely, this type of proposal is a hugely positive step forward for horse welfare. And surely as horse lovers we should be behind that?
My only complaint is why isn’t there a society like this in England (unless there is?) and why is it only focused on dressage?
Anyway, I think this is blinking marvellous!
On a separate but not unrelated note, anyone interested in drop nosebands may find this thread on the Intelligent Horsemanship Discussion Group of interest! Was reading it the other day when thinking about what was right for new boy Jack.