This is an extra blog posting is directly taken from Kerstin Kemlén. Having horses is keeping an animal in captivity. Our decisions forms the captivity, we need to constantly think about how we treat our friends mounted as well as dismounted. We need to be aware of that the horse's life is a matter of compromising with the nature of the horse and our desire to use this magnificent animal's adaptability and ability to cooperate.
This summer - at the ninth International Equitation Science Conference - a new research entitled: "A Method of diagnosing and Measuring Pain in The Ridden Horse" is presented .
The experiment shows that the aversion against bit are very common and signs of aversion to bit is much larger in number than previously thought. In other words:
Many bit-related behavior problems disappear when the bit is removed and this includes those behavior that frequently is included in accidents with horse and rider.
The research results support the fact that
the committees that control the contest rules,
need to review the rules about bit being
demanded in competition!
How did they come to this result - what the scientific method was used?
58 riders were part of a controlled experiment group where they were asked to change from a bridle with bit to the bitless "whole head hug" concept. The experiment lasted from 2002-2008.
The survey included in the experiment was designed based on three years of feedback from riders who switched to bitless and the questionnaire listed 86 behaviors related to bit.
Experiments riders were asked to answer the questionnaire which was divided into two columns - one for the horse's behavior ridden with bit during the time the rider have had the horse in his possession - and another column for the horse's behavior when carrying out similar work when the bit has been replaced with a bitless"whole head hug".
Experiments riders had owned their horses between 9 months to 21 years, median 2 years.
The horses were 3.5 years to 24 years of age, median 8.5 years.
The horses had been testing bitless 1 day to 2 years, median 3 month.
The horses belonged in the disciplines of dressage, jumping, trail, pleasure, distance, eventing
EVERY horse showed fewer signs of pain when ridden bitless.
NUMBER of signals of painful symptoms showed by every horse when being ridden with bit were between 5-55, median 24 pain signals.
NUMBER of painful symptoms showed by every horse when being ridden bitless was 0-17, median 1 painful symptom.
OUTCOME out of these 58 horses 90% of the signs horse showed of pain vanished when the bit was removed .