Haltered Horses More Resistant To Handler Cues Than Bridled Horses

Horses wearing bridles tend to pay more attention to their handlers than horses wearing halters, a Swedish study shows. Bridled horses also respond faster and to lighter rein pressure than horses that are haltered, reports The Horse.

Marie Eisersiö and researchers from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala believe that a better understanding of how rein tension affects horses could help riders and handlers improve their abilities, as well as lead to improved equine performance and welfare.

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The team found that horses tend to fight a bit more than a halter; the scientists believe that this is because horses have learned to associate the pieces of equipment with different experiences, like trying to pull the reins from a rider’s hands to alleviate discomfort.

The scientists used twenty 4- to 15-year old mares and geldings that were used as lesson horses. The team used a tension meter to determine how much pressure had to be applied to get the horse to back up. They also observed the horse’s behavior. Each horse was tested eight times in a nylon halter and eight times in a bridle with a snaffle bit.

The team found that horses responded to less tension when they were bridled than when they wore a halter. They also noted that bridled horses tossed their heads and gaped their mouths to try to avoid the bit. This is an indicator that many horses don’t receive relief from rein tension when doing what they are asked, report the scientists.

The researchers note that applying learning theory and negative reinforcement correctly should allow for the use of softer equipment.

Read more at The Horse.

The post Haltered Horses More Resistant To Handler Cues Than Bridled Horses appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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