Noseband Tightness Measurement


Crank Nosebands


Animal welfare concerns have been raised in relation to the use of overly tight nosebands and the crank noseband in particular. The crank noseband provides mechanical advantage in a manner similar to that of a pulley system for lifting weights. For instance, a 10 kg load applied by hand, as represented schematically in Fig. 1, will produce a lift capability of roughly 20 kg. Similarly, a crank noseband has the potential to produce a tightness force (noseband tension) which is double the force applied by hand, through the buckle, giving a mechanical advantage of two.

Noseband Tightness Measurement

The ISES taper gauge is a particularly simple tool which allows a semi quantitative assessment of noseband tightness.

Noseband Tightness Gauges

The ISES gauge (bottom left) and BandSense digital tightness gauge (top right).

There is a need, however, for an instrument, which has the simplicity of the ISES gauge but which indicates an objective, reproducible, physical standards based metric for tightness. Clearly, such an instrument could also support regulation. The BandSense digital tightness gauge was developed in order to meet this need. It is a simple handheld instrument with an integrated probe which is inserted between the noseband and the equine head at the site of interest. A tightness reading is available at the press of a button. The reading is displayed continuously even after the gauge is removed or the ‘Read’ button is pressed again.


The BandSense digital tightness gauge used to measure noseband tightness.