Grinding teeth as a new habit?

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Grinding teeth as a new habit?

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    09-13-2012, 10:30 PM
Grinding teeth as a new habit?

I've had my OTTB for a little over a month and he's been doing awesome. He has chomped on the bit since I got him and a flash helps to limit that but today he decided to try out grinding his teeth. It was a challenging lesson and I'm sure he was a little frustrated but he was doing great.

About half way through the lesson I hear that horrible noise coming from his mouth. I think I'm pretty tolerant but for some reason I really hate teeth grinding.

Anyone have an experience with getting them to stop this habit? I feel like since he literally just started doing this today then maybe I can nip it in the bud? I love my Jack but, Oh man, does teeth grinding drive me up the wall!!
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    09-13-2012, 10:37 PM
How old is this horse? What type of bit are you riding him in?
    09-13-2012, 10:38 PM
9.9 times out of 10, teeth grinding is a symptom of tension in the body, perhaps crookedness, pain/discomfort, or simply that the horse does not understand what you are asking.
I'd rule out a pain response first, make sure your saddle fits perfectly, bridles or bit isn't pinching, that teeth have been attended to within the last 12 months.
From there, it's a matter of good, tactful riding. Most teeth griding horses aren't off the leg. Get them more respectful of the driving aids, and the grinding stops.
Work with your coach if you are unable to find where the tenion is stemming from yourself. If you coach is worth what you're paying them, they'll be able to tell you where the tension is, why its there and how you can fix it.

Please don't just strap his mouth shut with a flash, that's a bandaid, the original problem will still exist and most likely will start to show up elsewhere.
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    09-13-2012, 11:01 PM
He is 7 years old and he has a french link snaffle.

His teeth have just been done so that should not be it. He did have a couple of bites under the saddle pad (but not under the saddle) that weren't sensitive before we rode but were after. (I felt bad since they didn't seem to be bothering him beforehand). I did have a hard time getting him in front of my leg today, more so than usual it felt. So maybe next time I ride if that is better then the grinding won't be there.

I'd like to eventually not use a flash, but for now it seems necessary. We are hoping that he will continue to settle in and relax and stop or decrease the chomping. It doesn't bother me too much for the time being if it's just a habit of his but I'd like to cross into hunters so the goal is to work out of the flash.

I will talk to my trainer about the grinding this weekend and see what she thinks. I really appreciate the feedback.
    09-13-2012, 11:18 PM
How long has he been ott?
It's fairly common in ottb's to teeth grind while they develop muscle and learn to accept contact.
As I said in my previous post, if you're sure there's no discomfort, your number one aim for now should be getting him 100% responsive to your driving aids. Keep your hands very still and quiet - leave them sitting on his witer or pinkies tucked under a monkey grip/neck strap for now. If you are accidentally tugging on his mouth each stride, that will accentuate the problem.

Get him going forward and accepting that contact and I will be very surprised if he's still grinding.
If he is, look to his straightness. If you've got a blockage anywhere in his body its common for it to show up as teeth grinding. A slight head tilt, quarters swinging a little to one side, not upright on his shoulders etc. are all contributing factors.
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    09-14-2012, 01:03 AM
I agree I have always found that if you worry about where the horses feet are first, the rest of the horse will seem to find it's place. My main objective as a rider is to make sure I have a connection with those feet, the rest of the horse iron's itself out eventually.
    09-14-2012, 09:44 PM
You might also want to try treating him for ulcers.
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    09-14-2012, 10:10 PM
Super Moderator
Took the words out of my mouth.

It is frequently ulcers or total body soreness.

The other thing I would do is lose the tight noseband. It may be frustrating him that he cannot chew on the bit. I would use a nose-band with enough room in it to slide my hand between it and his nose. This keeps one from gaping his mouth wide open but lets him chew.

I frequently use a hard rope nose-band that I make myself from a goat tying 'pigging string'. They are harsh if a horse prys its mouth hard against it but if it has some slack in it, a horse can chew and 'pick up' the bit in his mouth like I want one to learn to do. I think it is a big mistake to buckle a nose-band very tightly.
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    09-15-2012, 12:37 PM
You might also want to try treating him for ulcers.
He's on Smartgut starting about a month ago. (antacid and probiotic)

How long has he been ott?
Since last October. I've had him since the beginning of August.

The other thing I would do is lose the tight noseband. It may be frustrating him that he cannot chew on the bit. I would use a nose-band with enough room in it to slide my hand between it and his nose. This keeps one from gaping his mouth wide open but lets him chew.
I'd like to loosen it but at this stage of his training he still tries to evade the bit otherwise. Our goal is definitely to phase out the flash but we have to work on our communication with respect to brakes and half halt. He's made such huge strides in the month I've had him that I know we can do it, but it seems like we need it for now.

We are working on getting him to use his hind end and I hope that will help things. He sometimes still doesn't know how to properly use those back legs!
    09-16-2012, 03:40 PM
What is his work schedule like?
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