The key issue addressed is the defining of regular and maximum rein tension and bit pressure, which is applied by riders in the case of punishing the horse.
The report describes a laboratory experiment with several selected training techniques that are used in this modern age. The amount of pressure that was actually applied by six riders of different qualifications to the mouth of the horse by pulling the reins was determined with a dynamometer attached to the reins. The experiment tested “typical” and “jerking” forces applied by the rider, and the subsequent impact of the bit (common snaffle) on the horse’s mouth. The maximum impact force of the reins upon the horse head mannequin was fixated at the levels of 179kg. Mechanical impacts of mentioned intensity, registered during experiments, might lead to various damage of oral cavity tissues. The authors are of the opinion that the bit punishment represents pain and cruelty, and after the experiment, all participants were interviewed. Common methods of bit punishment, the amount of rein tension, and why they were applied to the horse’s mouth were discussed and analysed. Data was presented in tables, and statistical principles were applied.
Attention was raised that all training methods used across equestrian disciplines could jeopardise equine welfare. While it was proven that the bit is a cause of many diseases, disorders, and injuries (Cook, 2003), it is still used in equine sports and recreation. The term ‘cruelty’ is still not attributed to physical punishment, harm, pain or injury that may happen in the equine sport.
McGreevy (2007) addressed the issue of the horse’s welfare in his review of Equitation Science. It is an emerging discipline that combines learning, theory, physics and ethnology to evaluate current training techniques. Up to now, arguments concerning the horse’s welfare rely