In a video presentation initiated by Equestrian Canada, Professor Paul McGreevy talks about the use of nosebands and tongue-ties in horse sport, and how this type of tack fits in with the equestrian world’s social licence to operate.
The article referenced in the first minute of McGreevy’s online presentation is here.
A tongue-tie is a strap that immobilises a horse’s tongue by attaching it to the lower jaw (and sometimes to the bit in the horse’s mouth). The straps may be fashioned from nylon stockings, elastic bands or leather.
Tongue-ties date back to the 18th century. Early reports suggest that they were used to prevent abnormal noise and airway obstruction, caused by the horse pulling back its tongue and forcing its soft palate backwards. In lay terms, many refer to the horse that does this as having “swallowed its tongue” or “choked down”.
McGreevy says the evidence of the damage done by tongue ties and nosebands will emerge: “Just because you can do something to a horse does not make it okay.”
McGreevy is Professor of Animal Welfare and Behaviour at the University of Sydney.