Three sequential studies were performed to evaluate the effects of tying horses while wearing overchecks (strap from the bridle to backpad). In an observational study, horses (n = 305) wore high (HC), low (LC), or no overchecks (NC) with frequencies of 29.2%, 51.8% and 19.0% respectively. Study 1 (Latin square, n = 6) consisted of a 90-min tie test (90TT) with treatments (HC, LC, NC) x periods (1–3). Horses wearing HC had higher plasma cortisol (P < 0.01) when compared to LC and NC. Muscle soreness (MSS) and tightness (MTS) were evaluated pre and 24 hr post 90TT and were higher (P < 0.01) 24 hrs after 90TT regardless of treatment. In study 2, in order to determine if acclimation to tying with overchecks could reduce the cortisol response in study 1, horses (n = 6) were tied 60 minutes/day for 2 weeks followed by a 60-min TT (60TT). Neither plasma cortisol nor heart rate were elevated above baseline levels, suggesting adaptation to novel stressors. Tying with restrictive HC appears to be a stressor, which may be reduced if an adaptation period is provided.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
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