Practice of Noseband Use and Intentions towards Behavioural Change in Dutch Equestrians
Department of Applied Research, Aeres University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 374, 9250 AJ Dronten, The Netherlands
Behavioural Biology, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 6 December 2019 / Accepted: 9 December 2019 / Published: 12 December 2019
The space between the noseband and the skin of competition horses is a current welfare issue. The practices regarding the noseband tightness of Dutch horses was studied, as well as the intentions of Dutch equestrians when fastening the noseband. More than half (59%) of Dutch riders had their horses’ nosebands tightened according to the new two-finger regulation, implemented 1 April 2019. Dressage horses and older horses wore less tight nosebands compared to show jumping and younger horses. Results of an internet survey on intentions for noseband use showed that 54.5% of the respondents agreed with the new regulation and 62% believe that it will improve horse welfare. The respondents could be categorised into three different groups that differed regarding their own attitude towards noseband tightening behaviour, how peer pressure may affect noseband tightening behaviour, and how they perceived the new regulation. To improve horse welfare, knowledge transfer should include different strategies for different groups. Moreover, to convince equestrians to adhere to, and ensure a successful implementation of, the new regulation, transparency and objective measurements should be put in place.