Bits Dissertation

Similarly, applying other methods of quantifying physiological stress responses may lead to a valuable tool to support trainers in their assessment of horses during equitation.” More information: Keep up to date with the all the latest news from the conference on social media by following #ISESROME2018 Save the date of August 19-21 for the 2019 ISES Conference being held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

The theme of "Bringing science to the stable" will explore our relationship with horses through the past, present and future.

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The increase in heart rate during bitting significantly decreased over the three days as did the increase immediately after bitting.

The horses showed less heart rate fluctuation on day 3 compared to day 1 indicating some habituation had occurred.

Investigating procedures to optimise this introduction could lead to benefits in performance and, in some instances, improvements in welfare.

Many working horses exhibit expressions of mouth discomfort such as opening mouth, teeth grinding or crossing the jaw when a bit is used and these behaviours could be indicative of pain, or poor training.

Heart rate (HR) values were also recorded using a heart rate monitor at the same timepoints and during the bitting process.

The horses’ behaviour was also observed and assessed for the first minute after bitting and their stress responses were graded on a 1-5 scale using validated stress indicators.


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