Scientists Study the Perception, Usage of Horse Training Aids

Whips, spurs, and horse-head-control equipment can be misused by riders and misunderstood by spectators, both of which can have negative outcomes for horses and the industry alike.
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Horse Training Aids
Whips, spurs, and head-control equipment can be misused by riders and misunderstood by spectators, both of which can have negative outcomes for horses and the industry alike. | Photo: iStock

Training aids, when used properly, can augment a rider’s cues and help improve horse performance. However, the use of whips, spurs, and head-control equipment can be misused by riders and misunderstood by spectators, both of which can have negative outcomes for horses and the industry alike.

A Canadian research team recently set out to better understand how riders use and how spectators perceive horse training aids. An online survey distributed in Canada collected 656 responses from a variety of individuals, ranging from horse enthusiasts not currently working with horses to active riders and trainers.

Those equine enthusiasts not currently working with horses perceived whips, spurs, and head-control equipment to be used 82%, 72%, and 74% of the time, respectively. Conversely, riders and trainers reported using whips 80% of the time, spurs 52%, and head-control equipment 56%

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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