Apr 26TH

Ban the crank! by Kain Pickering

Nosebands have been an important part of equine equipment for a long time, but recently, they have being used for the wrong reasons.  In the past nosebands, were unrestrictive and loose with a two finger gap, just like the traditional Cavason noseband today, even though this noseband is unrestrictive it can be abused. The Crank noseband was created 1980’s, is similar to the Cavason but with a leverage buckle to give a tighter fit, this is the common noseband which is used today.

The Crank noseband is a form of cheating in competitions, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) are encouraging the use of the Crank because it enables the horse to appear submissive, because the signs of resistance and stress such as grinding teeth or putting out tongue, they are unable to be shown due to the tightness of the noseband, as the horse is unable to move its mouth and in some cases even restricts their breathing, but this does give the rider more control, as the horse has to accept the bit.

Why haven’t the FEI banned the use of the crank? They have banded the use of rollkur, as it is cruel to the horse, the crank is just as bad when misused, I understand it is hard to police and ban this tack item for good, but they shouldn’t be allowed to use in competitions, such as dressage, as these are judged on suppleness, which the crank, makes the horse appear to be supple.  They have banned the use of a lot of tack which they deem to be cruel to the horse but yet the crank noseband still is allowed.

The only ways of showing stress is though heart rate and eye temperature due to a study the horses heart rate rapidly increases from 34 BPM to over 50BMP when the crank is at the tightest setting, and during the recovery the horses heart rate only drops to 42 BPM, showing the horse was in immense stress and is unable to recover during the 10 minute period, on the other hand a  standard fastened noseband stays along the 38 mark showing, stress is not shown here compared to the tightened crank noseband, The eye temperature is another way of showing stress the study finds show the tightest  fastened crank noseband rises there eye temperature  to 34 to 35.3 C compared to the correctly fastened noseband which allowed the horse to maintain a normal eye temperate of 34.7 to34.8 mark.

A key thing to remember about this nose band is that it is used to improve the performance of the horse and to make it be supple, but in fact the stress the noseband puts the horse though, majorly decreases the performance of the horse, and if forces the horse to appear supple, so therefore cheating.

Animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA agree that this noseband should be banned, due to the cruelty to the horse, this causes unnecessary stress and discomfort. I have respect for the people who know how to use tack and equipment correctly to bring out there best of their horse, but lets not forget that in dressage the aim is to show a happy, natural relaxed and supple horse that is moving correctly and smoothly, this cannot be achieved with an over tight noseband.

Find the full report here:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154179 (24/02/2017)