Debate Over Noseband Checks at Horse Shows

Dr. Janne Winther Christensen penned an open letter to World Horse Welfare, on behalf of ISES, highlighting the importance of noseband checks for equine health and welfare, and Roly Owers, of WHW, responded.

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Debate Over Noseband Checks at Horse Shows

An upper-level dressage horse lost his bridle at a competition in Aachen, Germany, due to his groom’s error, not because of an official noseband check, as was “strongly implied” during a recent international horse welfare conference, equitation scientists say.

Generally speaking, noseband checks at equestrian events do not present safety risks to horses or humans, they said, and the science is clear on the point that noseband tightness affects equine health and welfare—the best place to measure tightness is on the nasal bone along the top. These were the main themes in an open letter to World Horse Welfare (WHW) penned last week by Janne Winther Christensen, PhD, of Aarhus University, in Tjele Denmark, and honorary president of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES), on behalf of ISES.

The letter was in reaction to statements given during a presentation about ethical riding in high-level events by four-time Olympian Richard Davidson of the U.K. Davidson presented his talk, “Equestrian Sport: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” during the WHW annual conference held Oct. 31 in London

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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