Duct tape ‘twitch’ on a horse’s nose to calm it down?!

Yes really! This is something that I have seen cropping up in a few places recently so I thought I would investigate it further…

There seems to be a growing group of horse owners who claim that sticking a small strip of duct tape down the front of their horse’s nose whilst trying to carry our previously difficult tasks, where the horse’s behaviour is hard to cope with (such as shoeing and clipping) has helped to calm and pacify their horse. I know it sounds nuts (and no this is not a belated April fool!), but there are quite a few forum threads celebrating its success and a few videos on Facebook and YouTube of the ‘duct tape twitch’ in action.

Here are some of the videos of it in action, firstly this one from Facebook which does show a little of the ‘before’ footage where the horse is agitated, and the the after effect of the tape, click here to watch

A traditional lip/nose twitch works by releasing endorphins which pacify the horse and the effects last around 10-15 minutes before wearing off, but that is achieved through pressure being applied. The duct tape appears to be simply stuck on the nose, which to the horse I assume must just feel like an odd sensation. I wonder if the tape method also releases endorphines or if it is simply the odd sensation that bamboozles the horse and as a result…..stuns it into submission?. Can you confuse a horse into calmness??? I think I’ve confused myself just thinking about it!

I don’t have any cause to try this myself as Dustry is very good to shoe and handle, the only time he puts up a little resistance is when being clipped near his ears and head, so maybe come the winter I will have the opportunity to try out this seemingly whacky technique out for myself!

If this does work then I think it could be a much easier, and less stressful alternative to a traditional twitch, if the tape is sticky enough to stay put, but not so sticky that it take hairs with it when removed then maybe tape twitches are the future?

Here are some links to forum posts discussing it, if you’d like to read more:


What do you think? I’d love to hear any first hand experiences of this, or a qualified vet’s opinion of the science behind it, if there is any!

Happy Easter, I’m off to check the BE/BD rule book to see if I can duct tape Dustry down the center line! 😉

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