Research on horse owners’ use of bitted and unbitted bridles, believed to be first of its kind, could change the equine industry.
- Charles Sturt master’s student to research horse owners’ use of bitted and unbitted bridles
- Mrs Jude Matusiewicz wants to determine whether science plays a part in decisions of horse owners when they choose bridles for their horses
- This nationwide survey is believed to be the first of its kind.
A Charles Sturt University master’s student is determined to make a difference in the industry she is passionate about as she prepares to complete her final year of study.
Mrs Jude Matusiewicz (pictured, with her horse Sunny) is studying a Master of Animal Science online from South Australia.
She might be located a long way from a campus, but Mrs Matusiewicz is planning to reach all of Australia with her survey.
Titled ‘Lifting the Veil on Bridles: Tradition, Science or something in between?’, Mrs Matusiewicz is hoping her research will answer two major questions.
The first is to establish the reasons horse owners and riders choose the bridles they do – is it based on continuing a tradition, to obey competition rules, for safety reasons, for ethical considerations, or something else entirely?
The second is to ascertain whether any, or all, of these reasons have a sound basis in scientific evidence.
“I am hoping to answer both of these questions with one Australia-wide survey,” Mrs Matusiewicz said.
“I wondered why there were many studies on various types of horse tack in relation to horse welfare, but studies into bridles themselves – either bitted or unbitted – were lacking. Now is the time to look at which bridles people are riding their horses with and why.”
Mrs Matusiewicz received the University Medal when she graduated with an Associate Diploma of Agriculture (Horse Husbandry) with Charles Sturt in 1990. She is the founder of Evidence Based Worming, a business that provides information and education on sustainable worming practices, including many valuable resources to guide horse owners on conducting their own faecal egg counts.
Associate Professor in Equine Science Hayley Randle and Senior Lecturer in Equine Studies Dr Petra Buckley, both with the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in Wagga Wagga, are Mrs Matusiewicz’s supervisors.
Continuing her studies has allowed Mrs Matusiewicz to explore this unique topic.
“This year is the end of my studies and I am hoping to obtain some really good data across all horse-riding genres so that riders can be fully informed when they choose their next bridle,” she said.
“I want to get information that hasn’t been gathered in Australia so I hope people will share the link to my survey so I can get as many horse riders as possible to help me with this ground-breaking research.”
Mrs Matusiewicz believes her findings could also lead to opportunities for new studies and projects to fill in any gaps that might be identified.
Her findings are expected to be published in formats that are easily accessible to horse owners and riders.