There are a few viral videos being shared across the web between horse people that are making some laugh, while puzzling others. The “Duct Tape Twitch” has a little bit of irony to it, as the method of sticking tape to a horse’s face is very much like sticking a Bandaid on a large wound. Several of these videos demonstrate how the horse behaves before and during the tape being applied, from spooky to silent.
Initially it might seem cute and funny to see the horse stand quietly with such a simple fix, or rather twitch, but what is really going on?
The horses in the videos seem nervous, distracted and even miserable. In any of these cases my first thought would be to figure out why the horse will not stand quietly for his feet to be handled. Some of the causes for a horse to avoid hoof care is fear of the handler, pain in the body or hooves, lack of balance, and lack of confidence in being handled generally. Applying the tape seems to help the person get their job done, but the major factor to consider is that the horse needs more time and attention in order to become relaxed while having their feet handled.
Bandaids are common in the horse world, although I am relieved that there is no chain involved with this twitch – but the truth is that someone can be hurt if they are not doing the homework to solve the horse’s soundness issue; be it physical or emotional.
Of course it is important to get regular and necessary hoof care done safely, but I would consider whether or not the horse feels safe while wearing the “Duct Tape Twitch”. Taking some time to diagnose and resolve the reason for all the unwanted movement and avoidance will prove to your horse that you are looking out for him.
For argument’s sake, my gracious mare allowed me to try the tape. The result was opposite of what I expected after watching the video ; Nekoda tossed her head, rolled her eyes and wrinkled her nose in an rather annoyed manner until I removed it. Buyers beware, I may have used the wrong brand.