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  1. #1
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    Aug. 15, 2006
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    Question Chewing vs. chomping the bit

    Okay, so i recently started riding my friend's 19-year-old Morgan mare. When she goes on the bit, she is lovely. Floppy, relaxed ears, swinging, rounded back, she gets so light I feel like I could ride her with yarn. Lovely mare.

    But she chews the bit. A lot. And her front teeth clack together. She doesn't get a ton of white slobber, but she does get a nice foam "lipstick" going. But it makes me crazy. CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK all over the arena.

    I take regular lessons but not on her (I have my own horses to ride and am just schooling my friend's horse since she's extremely busy at work right now). My next lesson I was thinking of riding the mare instead of my boy to get my trainer's input, but it's not for a couple weeks yet.

    My question: Need chiro? Her teeth were done recently by a vet who specializes in dentistry, so I don't think that's the issue. Should I try different bits? Does she need a better rider than me with nicer hands? LOL (she is worse with her owner, though, so I don't feel so bad). Should I just not worry about it and it's just "how she is?"

    My friend and I were tossing around the idea of showing her next year, so I'd really like to get her to stop CHOMPING so much.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
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    4,266

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    My teenage Morgan mare chomps when she's frustrated - anything from having to stand still and wait when she's full of go, to working on a new movement that she finds difficult. The chomping decreases the more she comes to understand the new thing, so I use it as one way to know she's starting to reach a comfort level with new work.

    I don't know where she got started with it. I got her when she was 11, and she used to chomp far more, and grunt, too.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
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    uk
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    Quote Originally Posted by oharabear View Post
    Okay, so i recently started riding my friend's 19-year-old Morgan mare. When she goes on the bit, she is lovely. Floppy, relaxed ears, swinging, rounded back, she gets so light I feel like I could ride her with yarn. Lovely mare.

    But she chews the bit. A lot. And her front teeth clack together. She doesn't get a ton of white slobber, but she does get a nice foam "lipstick" going. But it makes me crazy. CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK all over the arena.

    I take regular lessons but not on her (I have my own horses to ride and am just schooling my friend's horse since she's extremely busy at work right now). My next lesson I was thinking of riding the mare instead of my boy to get my trainer's input, but it's not for a couple weeks yet.

    My question: Need chiro? Her teeth were done recently by a vet who specializes in dentistry, so I don't think that's the issue. Should I try different bits? Does she need a better rider than me with nicer hands? LOL (she is worse with her owner, though, so I don't feel so bad). Should I just not worry about it and it's just "how she is?"

    My friend and I were tossing around the idea of showing her next year, so I'd really like to get her to stop CHOMPING so much.

    sounds like the bit hanging to low in her mouth
    a recent topic of mouthing bits and bitting go here
    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=223453



  4. #4
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    Aug. 15, 2006
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    Jefferson, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by goeslikestink View Post
    sounds like the bit hanging to low in her mouth
    a recent topic of mouthing bits and bitting go here
    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=223453
    OMG it never even occurred to me to check that! I just assumed that because it's "her" bridle it must fit. My old trainer must be spinning in her grave right now!

    I will check tonight! Thx!



  5. #5
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    Oct. 11, 2007
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    Andover, MA
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    My Morgan mare is a chewer, not a chomper. I like it when she chews, as usually that means she's "with me" and not her usual little ADD self Am planning to take her out of her flash soon and then we'll see if she turns into a chomper.

    It may actually be a Morgan thing, as I've noticed many of the Morgan show horses are very, very active with their mouths. They're kind of a mouthy breed in general... very gentle, but the lips are all over everything. ("Might it be edible?" )



  6. #6
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    Jan. 12, 2000
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    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
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    Clacking is not chewing, and not necessarily a sign that the bit is in the wrong place. Often horses that are collected but not pushed into the bridle will relax their lower jaw and you will hear a clacking sound. It's not wrong, but to stop it you will want to drive the horse into the bit some more and have them take a light hold of it.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Illinois, USA
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    Agreed that I'd check and see if she's actually chewing, or are the front teeth just clacking? When my mare is really relaxed her teeth will clack because the jaw is so loose. She does this in a hackamore too, FWIW.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  8. #8
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    Jul. 6, 2000
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    Alvin, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    Agreed that I'd check and see if she's actually chewing, or are the front teeth just clacking? When my mare is really relaxed her teeth will clack because the jaw is so loose. She does this in a hackamore too, FWIW.
    My youngster does this too...when he is truly relaxed, his jaw flops around and I hear 'CLACK CLACK CLACK' - at trot or canter. I had another horse years ago that I learned when I heard the CLACK CLACK CLACK, he was in perfect harmony at trot...



  9. #9
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    Aug. 15, 2006
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    Jefferson, OR
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    actually now that you mention it, it *is* her front teeth, and it is more of clacking than chomping. How'd y'all know?

    I was totally mystified that she seemed totally relaxed in every other part of her. She also doesn't do it at sitting trot or canter, but we *just* started working on both (she was a feedlot rescue so we're still conditioning). It's most obvious at working trot (when I post).

    So... I was thinking it was a sign of tension and will hurt our collective marks if we show her. Will it?



  10. #10
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    Nov. 9, 2005
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    uk
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    that becuase your hands are moving upward and down so it clacks instead of keep them still
    at rising trot like you do in sitting trot

    the bit or mouth should be in line with your elbow- in other words you got to much play on the bit so it jingle jangles which is uncomfy for the horseits your hands causing the problem



  11. #11
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    I disagree with the last post. Your hands are actually probably more steady and light in the posting trot, thus the relaxation and clacking. The horse is doing this because the jaw is relaxed and the jaw moves a bit with the tempo of the trot and is the clacking is fueled by the horses own movement. The clacking most likely stops when you sit because that's when you take more a hold of the reins, or when you push the horse more in to the reins (whether you realize it or not).

    I've never seen anyone have busy hands (or hands that move up and down) that would cause a horse to clack. Grinding and chomping usually come from hands that are too hard. Hands that move too much cause a horse to actually move its head. Clacking the lower jaw does not come from bad hands. (CHOMPING loudly does come from bad hands.)
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



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