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xDressageDivAx 04-28-2009 01:42 PM

♥ Overactive Chewing on Bit, Head Tossing ♥
Hi all, I'm new here!! I have a huuuuge dilemma with one of the horses I work with and we just cannot figure out the answers, so here goes...

Herbie is an 11 year old Trotter x Thoroughbred, 14.2hh, coloured gelding who we bought from an old lady 3 years ago. His main purpose is for Driving Trials, which he loves, although he was only hacked around the lanes in a two-wheeler all his life by this lady.

Anyway, these past few months have been a nightmare. He has been gradually getting worse with chewing and chomping on the bit both in harness and under saddle, tossing his head every now and then as if he is in pain, and getting himself lathered up in his mouth really bad. He has had his teeth checked several times by several experts, his back has been checked too. Nothing was found except a few sharp points on his molars which were sorted out - this was sorted out ages ago and now the problem's getting worse.

He gets crabby when putting on his harness/saddle/rug yet it is as if he is 'looking' for the bit and happily takes it when bridling. He is worse at chewing under harness though. We have tried changing his bit (we have tried everything from a plain snaffle bit, jointed, mullen-mouth, copper, rollered, straight barred, sweet-iron, happy-mouth, ported!) yet he is the same in them all. They all fit well in his mouth, we have tried using a flash noseband but this makes him worse and he chews so much that he rubs himself raw with it. We are now trying a Harbridge training aid Guides - Harbridge Training aid and this has stopped the head-tossing, but it's only a quick-fix and not the answer to the problem.

There is no sign of soreness in his mouth, and he is not in the slightest strong, if not too sensitive, in his mouth. We have also tried being tough with him when he snatches the reins, still not the answer!!! He does it the minute he is bridled, the only thing I can think of is that he is either stressed/anxious, or possibly neck pain??? Help!!! We are getting quite a bad reputation for bad dressage marks :oops: and surely it isn't comfortable for him to have to keep chewing all the time..??

Many thanks for any replies xxx

weefoal 04-28-2009 02:38 PM

I hate to say this but not every horse is meant to compete. I have had many horses that I had to stop showing because they just couldnt handle the stress of it and I felt guilty making them do it. Sounds like he does fine just driving around the farm but maybe not so great at compeitition

It sounds like you have gone the extra mile and tried pretty much everything. The only other thing I can suggest is sending him to a trainer for 30 days.

I always tell people every horse CAN drive BUT not every horse can do it well. Every horse CAN jump but not every horse will do it well. You can compete with ANY horse but not every horse LIKES to compete.

I know its disappointing but sometimes you have to admit it and move on.

KTSpeedhorse 04-28-2009 02:47 PM

Check his ears and also you may want to consult a chiropractor. My TB did this and he was out at the pole. Just a thought.

Spirithorse 04-28-2009 05:14 PM

Yea, I'd be getting him checked by a chiropractor. Also be checking for other sources of pain.

If she starts acting up when you GO TO HARNESS HER, that is your first clue that she doesn't like something. Fix that issue by going back and doing approach and retreat and then see how things go. Always remember to use soft hands, ask as softly as possible and not to force.

I will tend to agree with weefoal. That's absolutely true, not every horse is cut out to compete. Sometimes the horse doesn't like what we are trying to do with him, like jumping for example. Some horses are forced to be a jumping horse. Not saying you are forceful with your horse, I'm just saying that as an example.

xDressageDivAx 05-02-2009 10:40 AM

Thanks for your replies guys, I'm going to try my hardest to make Herbie happy again!!! xXx

reining girl 05-02-2009 12:59 PM

Ya i would say chiropractor. Or could he just be anzious about something?? To me it almost sounds like he is so anxious or nervous that he needs something to occupy himself with and chewing heavily on the bit is his relief. Almost like a person bites ther fingernails or chews on there hood strings or something lol. But i would try a chiropractor

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