Old stable and veterinary equipment can be quite fascinating.
This is a Rutter’s twitch – it is made of two wooden bars, there are ridges carved around the circumference of each bar. The two pieces of wood are held together at one end by iron loops.
This tool was used to quieten horses when they didn’t want to cooperate with a procedure. One of the wooden bars would be placed on each side of the animal’s upper lip / muzzle & the bars would be strapped together at their free ends, squeezing the lip. Theoretically the use of a twitch promotes the production of endorphins in the horse’s body, making it calmer . Personally I am rather doubtful about this theory and suspect that twitches worked more by providing the alternative distraction of pain.
Despite this rather dubious use the Rutter’s twitch is an interesting item. In common with many 19th Century tools it is beautifully made from an attractive wood (probably oak) , the metal parts are handforged.
However, I think I’ll be sticking to modern sedatives when I need them.