A low cost device for measuring the pressures exerted on domestic horses by riders and handlers

Amanda Warren-Smith, RA Curtis, PD McGreevy

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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The results from this preliminary trial have shown that this form of data collection is potentially valuable as both a research and training tool and that much lighter pressures than those previously recorded can and should be used when training horses.Unwelcome problems with horses usually develop because of the inappropriate application of training techniques. People working with horses generally have varying levels of skill in horse handling and large numbers of horses are used worldwide for a vast range of activities. Despite these causes of variability, the welfare implications of behavioural problems in general suggest that horsehandlers and riders should become conversant in learning theory since it is the basis of good training. Traditional methods currently used in training horses are predominantly based on negative reinforcement. Perhaps because workers in the horse industry are mostly unaware of the scientific basis of their training systems, negative reinforcement is often inappropriately applied, causing much resistance and conflict for the horse.The amount and duration of pressure required to elicit a standard response (such as leading forward) varies from horse to horse. Preuschoft et al. (1999) and Clayton et al. (2003) have measured pressures placed in a horse's mouth during training, but the expense of the systems they used may preclude from use in everyday training. Therefore, a low cost sensor and ambulatory recording system worn on the horse that can be used in everyday training to measure the pressures commonly applied to horses (via equipment such as reins and leads)was developed.Two sensors were tested on horses that were being led, lunged and ridden and the range of pressures for normal light rein contact were in the range of 0 - 30 N.45 Other studies that have recorded rein pressures found a range of up to 60 N.This, in itself, highlights the need for further research to be conducted on the pressures applied to horses and importantly the subsequent education of riders and trainers so that horses are not subjected to unnecessary pressures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st International Equitation Science Symposium 2005
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)097568762X
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventInternational Equitation Science Symposium - Melbourne, Australia, Australia
Duration: 26 Aug 200527 Aug 2005


ConferenceInternational Equitation Science Symposium


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