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AKPaintLover 02-27-2008 12:35 AM

Bit/Mouth problems
So....I have been riding in a bit sort of like this:

...since last fall. On mine, the snaffle hook-up is larger. I have ridden in it only hooked up to the snaffle ring, not to the shank. The plan was to use the shank hook up the week before, and during shows.

Anyway...this winter, he started to be very sensitive when I removed his bridle. No matter how carefully I try to remove it, he would end up throwing his head up, and seeming to wince away from it. At the same time, he will have not opened his mouth enough to even release the bit. I have tried very hard to find a way to remove the bridle without it bothering him, but have failed.

He has no issues being bridled, or while being ridden. Also, I have ridden with very little contact all winter, as I have been prepping for WP and trying to work on bridle-less. I have focused much on seat and body drive. Recently, I have begun riding with contact, but not heavy contact at all, and with A LOT of release.

Finally, the last time that I rode him, and removed his bridle with him wincing about it. I decided to check out his mouth (don't ask why I didn't think to look sooner). Up until this point, I had figured that his winter hair was making it awkward and uncomfortable to remove the bridle (I had even loosened the actual bridle quite a bit). Anyway, when I looked in his mouth, I saw that he had purple bruises on his bars about where the bit sits. His canine gums were also red and inflamed. I rinsed the area in a diluted paroxide as suggested in the Vet. manual, and have not bridled him since (two days ago).

I have a bit like above, but it is broken in two places instead of one...would that help?

I am going to keep him bridle-less for now, but I don't understand how this happened. It is also weird that he has always sort of held onto his bit with his teeth, and not readily opened his mouth for removal. At times, he has shaken so hard that his show bridle (no throat-latch) has come off of his head, but he held it in his mouth. This happened even when I was riding him in a loose ring snaffle.

Course of action?


kitten_Val 02-27-2008 06:56 AM

AK, can you just switch to hackamore instead or you cannot show with it? I've never heard (or seen) something like that coming from bridle. May it be that he's allergic to the bit metal?

SonnyWimps 02-27-2008 12:43 PM


Originally Posted by kitten_Val
AK, can you just switch to hackamore instead or you cannot show with it? I've never heard (or seen) something like that coming from bridle. May it be that he's allergic to the bit metal?

I've never heard or seen something that like happening also. What type of metal is the bit made out of?

You said he was fine putting the bit in? Weird, for normally if the bit is the thing that bothered him, he more than likely would give a fit trying to get it in more than out.

I'd definately have a vet come out and look at his mouth. To me it sounds more than just a bit/bridle problem.

AKPaintLover 02-27-2008 02:47 PM

The bit is sweet iron with copper inlay.

All I can imagine that is causing the bruising is that he his clenching down on the bit in his mouth at all times (evidenced by him holding onto it when the bridle part if taken or falls off).

I am wondering if the redness around the canine is unrelated?

I will definitely ride in a hackamore for a while, but I have to show in a bit.

I am going to have the vet look at his mouth.

Thanks for taking a stab at sounds like you guys are as stumped as me about it. :) My poor baby.

mlkarel2010 02-27-2008 08:25 PM

the type of bit you have, even though It's broken in two places, has the nutcracker effect and not only that but it will irritate/bruise/apply preasure to/cause soreness in/make sensitive........however you want to say it.... to his bars and the corners of his mouth...... I would try another bit such as this Billy Allen (below) that is closer to a non-jointed curb.... especially because you can do a lot of work without using the bit..... i think that should make him feel better, if he doesn't respond well maybe use your current bit a few times to remind him, but be sure to alternate so he won't be so sore :wink:

Edit: Also horses in broken curbs tend to bite down on them to escape the nutcracker effect. Try a bit with the Billy Allen mouthpiece and if that doesn't work then just move him up to a short shanked low-port or mullen mouth curb.

AKPaintLover 02-27-2008 11:26 PM

Thanks, I will try that.

Can you give me a good site for a bit like that?

AKPaintLover 02-27-2008 11:36 PM

Is this what you are talking about for the mullen mouth curb? Is that show legal for western?

Also, we have a bit that I have not used, but have considered. It has a port, but then has a bar with roller below the port. Similar to the below, but with less shank. What is the effect of/purpose for this type of bit. Is this negative or okay to use with low contact?

Also, when I ride english, I use an egg-butt snaffle...does this create the same nutcracker effect that is bothering him?

What about the loose ring?

These seem like such standard bits, I am surprised that he is having such a problem. (though I can't remember if he had problems with the egg butt because it has been a while since I have worked english).

mlkarel2010 02-28-2008 07:40 PM

Sadly, all jointed bits have the nutcracker effect (even snaffles, no matter what kind), but the jointed curbs I believe make it more uncomfortable. I'd keep using that hackamore for awhile and let him recover, and maybe use the snaffle a few times a week and see if that bothers him. Some horses just can't stand the nutcracker, so if this is the case maybe get a French-linked snaffle to work with. It has a lot less of the nutcracker effect.

Yes that is an example of the mullen mouth curb I was talking about. As far as I know it's legal to show with in Western shows, they usually just want a curb bit. I've seen big futurity people who swear by them.... so I would think it's legal.

Here's a few sites for that Billy Allen bit.,123_Billy-Allen-Bits.html

Theres one on this sorry you have to search for it:!STC

Hope that helps!!

Edit: About the other bit you have.... I wouldn't go straight to that... the roller and the rest of the mouthpiece will apply a lot of tounge pressure and might freak your boy out if he isn't used to it.... especially since he's sore. The roller gives nervous horses something to do to calm their nerves.... other than that sadly I'm not an expert on that bit.... but I deffinitely wouldn't recommend going from a jointed curb to that bit

AKPaintLover 02-29-2008 02:49 AM

Thank you :)

mlkarel2010 02-29-2008 10:37 AM

No problem :P Your welcome

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