evading the bit versus dental?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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evading the bit versus dental?!

so i have been watching videos on how to see if your horse is having dental problems, and i have some questions:
-some horses when pressure is put on their mouth, they throw their head up. i saw a clip that said that if a horse was doing that it was in pain. is this true?
-if this is only partly true, and on the times when it is in pain, how do you tell the difference?
-if this is ALWAYS true, why are there flashes and figure-8's that are used to close a horses mouth, if its a pain issue? (is this people being ignorant)
and finally,
-if this is NEVER true, why do horses throw their heads up when pressure is put on their mouths? (evading the bit?)

disclaimer: my horse doesnt do this, and gets his teeth done regularly(: YAY.

OH WAIT! one more question!!
-what are your opinions on getting your horses teeth looked at/done/floated by the vet versus the dentist. i personally get my guys done by a dentist because they specialize in that. how about you?

sorry for the questions, but im.just.so.curious!
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 07:52 PM
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It depends greatly on how well you can read that particular horse. One of my own, I can tell when they are showing pain versus being obnoxious just because of their other body language; the tilt of their ears, the look in their eye, the shape of their nostrils, what their tail is doing, how they feel in my hands, etc.

As for a strange horse or for people asking advice on here, having a dentist check the horse is never a bad idea. Most horses don't get regular dental care like they should so that is the first thing to be ruled out.

I prefer to have a dentist look at my horses because, like you said, they specialize in it. For many years, we had to have the vets do the floating on our horses because there wasn't a dentist within a reasonable distance. However, I asked both my vets one day how much time they spent on equine dentistry in school and their response was "One afternoon, about 3-4 hours". They are better than nothing at all, but I much prefer someone who has been to school for months learning how to properly float/balance a horse's mouth.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 07:55 PM
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I don't ask my GP about my teeth. Why would I do the same for my horse?

Mods, grant me the serenity to see the opinions I cannot change, courage to change the ones that should change, and the wisdom to spot the trolls.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 08:18 PM
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I think that often a horse that is evading the bit can be "talked" into accepting, if the rider has good hands and good feel, and the bit itself fits the horse. A horse with pain in it's mouth, the more the rider tries to work with him to try and get him to accept steady and sympathetic pressure, the more he will increase his reaction, rather than decrease it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 08:31 PM
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Some of your questions indicate you are forgetting that teeth are not the only reason for lack of bit acceptance. That big pink thing in there is more likely the cause of discomfort for many horses. Some horses have very fat tongues. If you put a bit in there that gives it no room, the horse has trouble swallowing and has to put its head up to do so. An ignorant rider will think the horse is being bad, tie it's mouth shut with a flash, and wonder why the problem was not fixed.

Always make sure there is room for the tongue. I know of one rider who has been using the wrong bit for so many years, the tongue has a permenant dent in it.

To answer your questions, the only way to know whether it's behavioral or pain is to make sure it all fits well in there first and use the process of elimination that way. My guess is most problems are due to an bad fit, not a bad horse.

Flashes and figure 8's are completely uselss in my opinion. Ignorance is a good word.

I use a dentist for my horse's teeth. He spends months out west doing ongoing training unlike a vet who does a little bit of everything.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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thanks(: i love me some new knowledge!
tinyliny-thats really helpful, i never thought of it that way.
smrobs- i agree, i would know if my horse was in pain, but i try not to pull on his mouth.(:
myboypuck- thats a really good point, but how do you know if your horse has a fat tongue and how would you fix that if you were in that situation? can those horses not have a bit in their mouth? or a different kind?
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 09:46 PM
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Sure horses with big tongues can use bits. They just need more space. A snaffle with a middle piece or a low port gives them enough tongue relief. Your dentist can best tell you what type of bit would work best for your horse's mouth.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-05-2012, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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thats really interesting! lucky for me my guy is good to go, but if i ever get a horse that is like this, i will know the answer!
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