Bits, Spurs, and Whips

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Sources on Bits

Sources on Whips

Sources on Spurs

For thousands of years horses, mules, donkeys, bovines, buffalo, and other animals have been subjugated to immense animal cruelty all for human greed and control. Just like shock collars, bits, spurs, and whips are designed solely to cause pain to the animal to force them to obey.

Resources on Bits

World Bitless Organization:

Massive Paper on Studies With Visuals:

Above Paper on Google Drive:

Papers from Dr Cook:

Bit Use and It’s Relevance to Rider Safety:,modern%20understanding%20of%20animal%20welfare

Bit Injuries High in Show Horses:

Oral Lesions from Bits:

Tongue ties:

What is a Tongue Tie:

Champing at the Bit for Improvements: A Review of Equine Welfare in Equestrian Sports in the United Kingdom. Tim Holmes & Ashleigh F Brown

The 2020 Five Domains Model: Including Human–Animal Interactions in Assessments of Animal Welfare:

Bits Hurt Horses (video): [link]

Bits and Horse Riding (video): [link]

Abuse of Bits (video): [link]

Bit Bridle vs Bitless Bridle (video): [link]

Bit Abuse (video): [link]

Dr. Cook on Bits (video): [link]  and [link]

Abuse of Bits:

Dr. Cook on Bits:

Riding Bitless:

Stacey Westfall Ride Horse Without Bridle or Saddle (video): [link]

British Veterinary Association (2021):

Cook, W.R. (1999): Pathophysiology of bit control in the horse. J Equine Vet Sci. 19: 96-204

Cook, W.R. (2010): Damage by the bit to the equine interdental space and second lower
premolar. Equine vet. Educ. (2010) doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3292.2010.00167.

Cook, W.R. (2019): Clearing the Air on the Bit-free Debate, Horses and People Magazine,
November-December 2019.

Cook, W.R. (2021a): Pain free Horsemanship.
Cook, W.R. (2021b): Sudden death in the racehorse – World Bitless Association

Cook, W.R. (2023): Sustaining the social license of equestrian sport.

Cook, W.R. and Strasser, H (2003): Metal in the Mouth: the abusive effects of bitted bridles.
Sabine Kells. Qualicum Beach, BC Canada

Cook, W.R. and Mills, D.S. (2009): Preliminary study of jointed snaffle vs. crossunder bitless
bridles: Quantified comparison of behaviour in four horses. Equine Vet. J. 41, 827-830

Cook W.R. and Kibler, M. (2018): Behavioural assessment of pain in 66 horses, with and
without a bit. Equine Vet Educ. 31 551-560

Cook, W.R. and Kibler, M (2022): The effect of bit-induced pain in the horse on the feelings of
riders about riding (2022) – World Bitless Association
Danish Animal Ethics Council, June 2023: Statement on the use of horses for sport.
Glendell, G (2014: An open letter to the British Horse Society.

May Davis (2014): The Occurrence of a Congenital Malformation in the Sixth and Seventh
Cervical Vertebrae Predominantly Observed in Thoroughbred Horses, Journal of Veterinary
Science 34 1313-1317V

May-Davis et al (2023: “Congenital abnormalities of cervical vertebrae C6 and C7.” Journal of
Equine Veterinary Science.

Mellor DJ. (2016): Updating Animal Welfare Thinking: Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms”
towards “A Life Worth Living.” Animals (Basel). 2016 Mar 14;6(3):21. doi:

Mellor, D.J. (2019a) Equine welfare during exercise 1. Do we have a bit of a problem.

Mellor, D.J (2019b) Equine welfare during exercise 2. Do we have a bit of a problem.

Mellor, D.J. (2020a) Mouth Pain in Horses: Physiological Foundations, Behavioural Indices,
Welfare Implications, and a Suggested Solution. 2020 Mar 29;10(4):572. doi:

Mellor, D.J (2020b). Bit Blindness. VetScript 33(9), 32-34; VetScript is the Monthly Magazine of
the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

Mellor, D.J. and Beausoleil, N.J. (2017): Equine welfare during exercise: An evaluation of
breathing, breathlessness and bridles. Animals. 7, 41 doi:10.3390/ani7060041

Mellor, D.J., Beausoleil, N.J., Littlewood, K.E., McLean, A.N., McGreevy, P.D., Jones, B. and
Wilkins, C. (2020). The 2020 Five Domains Model: Including Human–Animal Interactions in
Assessments of Animal Welfare. Animals10 (10), 1870; doi:10.3390/ani10101870

Mellor, D.J. and Burns, M (2020): Using the Five Domains Model to develop welfare assessment
guidelines for Thoroughbred horses in New Zealand. New
Zealand Veterinary Journal, May;68(3):150-156. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2020.1715900. Epub
2020 Feb 20.

May-Davis (2023): May-Davis, S.; Dzingle, D.; Saber, E.; Blades Eckelbarger, P.
Characterization of the Caudal Ventral Tubercle in the Sixth Cervical Vertebra in Modern Equus
ferus caballus. Animals 2023, 13, 2384. ani13142384

Taylor, J: (2022) “I can’t watch anymore: the case for dropping Equestrian from the Olympic
Games.” Epona Media, Copenhagen.

Wilkins, C: (2023): “The mystery of the missing lamellae.” Horses and People, pp 43-49

Resources on Whips:

Study strengthens Case for Banning Whips:

Humans and Horses Feel Pain the Same:

Whip Welts on Melbourne Cup Winner:

Horses Are More Sensitive to Pain Than We Are:

Horses Hurt More Than Humans:

The science is In Whipping Hurts Horses:

The Lie That Whipping Doesn’t Hurt Horses:

Conclusive Evidence That Whips Hurt Horses and Don’t Aid Jockeys:–whips-don-t-aid-.html

Whipping Doesn’t Make Racehorses Go Faster:

Research Shows Whipping Horses Doesn’t Make Them Go Faster:

Study Shows Horses Feel Just as Much Pain as Humans:

Jockeys Get No Benefits From the Whip:

Whips Don’t Work:

Whipping Doesn’t Speed Up Horses:

Study in the Use of the Whip Makes Case for Banning:

Time for Horseracing to Ban the Whip:

The Whip:

Views on the Whip in Australian Racing:

How Much Whipping is Too much:

Behavioral Problems are More Likely if Whip is Used:

World First Study Makes Case for Banning Whips:

Jockey Jokes About Whipping Horse:

RSPCA Calls for Ban on Whipping Horses:

Pressure Mounts to Ban Whipping Horses:

Ban The Whip:

Drop the Whip Campaign:

Every Lash Adds Urgency For Its Critics:

Whip Rule Makes No Sense:

Whip Marks Visible on Racehorse:

Review of the Use of the Whip in Racing:

Vets Slam Shameful Whip Rule Change:

Force of Back Handed Whipping:

Sweden Bans Whipping Racehorses:

International Rules and Regulations on Using the Whip:

Jockeys Whining Because They Want to Abuse Horses:

Sweden Bans Whips:

Jockeys Face Disqualification Under New Whip Rules:

10 Reasons to Stop Whipping Racehorses:

New Jersey Bans Whipping Racehorses:

Swedish Horseracing Bans the Whip:

American Pharaoh Whipped Over 30 Times in ONE Race:–did-victor-espinoza-whip-american-pharoah-too-many-times-192407863.html

Resources on Spurs:

Electric Spur Use in Show Horse:

Spur Abuse:

when There is Blood on the Horse is it an Accident or Abuse: