Why does my horse foam at the mouth - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Why does my horse foam at the mouth

while riding? Is it the bit he isn't happy with? For years I have seen horses do this, but never really got an answer to it.

He is a great horse, very mild. He is using a Tom thumb snaffle with short shanks...a nice easy bit. He stops excellent and isn't nervous or jerky.

Can anyone give me suggestions on how to stop the foaming or why he does it.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 07:28 AM
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Foaming can be a good thing or a bad thing. I much prefer a horse to have a wet mouth and foaming at the corners or the lips, than a horse that travels with a dry mouth which in most instances indicates that the horse is not accepting the bit.

A relaxed jaw which accepts the bit will encourage the horse to salivate and thus produce foam. However, a horse in need of a dentist visit or finding the bit uncomfortable will mouth the bit in an anxious manner which will also produce foam.

If you horse is travelling happily with a soft jaw thus producing a light foam - this is good!!!
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 08:01 AM
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If you have been seeing it for years, I would say its a good thing. I would hate to think there are that many horses trotting around in bad bits or in need of dental care! Lol.

I am currently working on getting my horse moving from behind and onto the bit. We have been working a lot on collecting and sometimes he gives me what I call the "oinky" face. Where he is saying, No, I don't want to do this! But once he comes together and relaxes, he comes down and starts to chew a little bit, and then starts to salavate some. This is good, I want him relaxed and happy with the bit in his mouth. On a good day, he will foam a little more than before and is really listening. At least I believe this for my horse.

So its likely, as Kayty said, its all good!

Last edited by Wancata; 06-02-2011 at 08:08 AM.
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post #4 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 09:07 AM
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I'm not meaning to be judgemental here or critical by any means. For a fact a Tom Thumb bit is one of the most of harshest bits, because of the straight, short shanks. Years ago I also thought the Tom Thumb to be a kind bit, but learned differently through more research and informative reading up on the different bits. A less severe curb bit is a reining horse bit with curved shanks instead of the short, straight shank of the TT.

As for your horse foaming at the mouth while bitted up, I think the mouth piece part of your TT bit is maybe either copper or sweet iron. Either of those metals are to help keep a horse's mouth moist and light on the bit.
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 10:58 AM
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Excessive foaming is a sign of resistance to the bit. The bit restricts tongue movement so the horse can not swallow the slobber. I don't want to see any of it. If, when you ride him in a halter or lunge him his mouth is dry, that will tell you it's the bit.
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post #6 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 06:21 PM
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LHP - not necessarily. Maybe it's a western thing to want a dry mouth, but in english, particularly dressage, a wet mouth is HIGHLY desired (not excessive foaming up where the horse is in obvious discomfort, usually coupled with tension in the body as I said above) but wet lips with foaming produced at the corners of the mouth. This is an indication that the jaw is soft as as a result increased salivation occurs.
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post #7 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 06:24 PM
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I've always heard the shorter the shank the less severe because the less leverage it has...and a tom thumb is as short as the shanks get as far as I know...
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 07:05 PM
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Salivating is generally a good thing, meaning the horse is soft in the mouth. Tom Thumbs, on the other hand, are terrible bits: why do so many people object to Tomb Thumbs and dislike them?
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post #9 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 11:10 PM
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Are you referring to the western bit or the english pelham? Because the english pelham tom thumb which is basically just a snaffle with a small shank for some added leverage I certainly wouldn't characterize as a "terrible bit" esp compared to a lot of others!
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-02-2011, 11:11 PM
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Then again...a happy mouth rubber bit can be a terrible bit...in the wrong hands. Any bit can.
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