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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    3,833

    Default Open mouth issue

    Ok so not sure where to go from here as I've tried everything in my little brain of knowledge.

    Horse wants to open his mouth with the bit in alot. Ruled out too much pressure via hands (as he does it on the lunge with no sidereins or on a loose rein, or anytime work gets a little harder).

    Ruled out teeth- just done and in great shape.

    Ruled out bits- tried Loose ring french link, baucher and now currently in happy mouth loose ring french link (unless someone wants to suggest another).

    Now I can just stick a flash on him- viola no mouth issue BUT I'd like to work out why he's doing this (plus he gets uncomfortable with the flash as it gets all wet under it and itchy)

    I am tempted to 'remouth' him in the manner Thomas has described but not sure it will work as, at most, I could only rebit him for 20 mins a day.

    Any thoughts/suggestions welcome.

    And just for SLC (as she always comments that I only post problems- which is true, don't feel the need to post my daily triumphs) he is coming along very nice, canter is getting better each day. Trot work is becoming great, getting some huge lifts now from his front end. Lateral work is becoming very solid with a decent halfpass today. Still working on consistency though which its linked IMO to the open mouth.
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2009
    Location
    The Great Plains of Canada
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    3,066

    Default

    What about some tongue relief? Some horses seem to really like a low port (under 2'' and it will not - typically, depending on the horse's mouth conformation of course - affect the palate) for the tongue relief it offers. Wish I had a photo, but I bought a low low ported (under 1'') bit for my OTTB who loved to hang his mouth open. Solid mouthpiece/you can also get the ones that swivel a little via 'joints' at the port (but the bit itself will not fold in) - the one I have is a solid mouthpiece that is shaped/moulded in an arc to suit the horse's mouth. Plain D-ring with sweet iron inlaid. $35 I believe at Greenhawk, so not an expensive bit. Essentially it is just a plain D-ring with the sweet iron inlay, yet has the curved mouthpiece and low port. I have another similar to a Baucher I use on him now for refinement work (I like the communication level it offers), but with the same mouthpiece. Loves it.

    The only other thing I would suggest would be chiro/massage therapy? I think that would be pretty far out there, but who knows.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    Can you link what you mean and are they legal for dressage?

    (He has regular chiro work)
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Qc
    Posts
    3,427

    Default

    How do you lunge him? Attached to his halter?

    How is his stress level usually? Is he opening is mouth to avoid to work/the contact or kind of grind it in some sort of discomfort?

    You sais you ruled out the teeth, but how old is he? If young there might still be some tooth growing. If not, he could have softer teeth that need more attention or are more sensible.

    How is his back?

    As for the bits, you can't rule that out unless tried all...
    IMO, I don't like the happy mouths because they are not that 'happy' in thé jonctions...quite square and tiny harsh middle ends...nah.

    Instead of changing from baucher to loose ring to etc, you should change sizes, shapes, weight and alloys.

    And it might sound silly but is his bit at the right place in his mouth?

    Usually for unsteady mouths I tend to use full cheeks with their little hooks to the bridle, so it is steadier in their mouth.
    I also free lunge them with it to see what happen in 'liberty'.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 1999
    Location
    Someplace Wet
    Posts
    8,855

    Default

    have you considered a sensitivity to the metal?

    plastic rubber or Aurigan might be a way to go



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Have you ruled out dental issues? He's clearly trying to communicate something with you. How terrific that you realized he needs a change and you are looking for answers. Too many riders just let the horse hang his mouth open. Big gold star for you! Is the bit that you are using one of those fat type of bits? Sometimes horses with fat tongues and big fat bits have trouble breathing. Switching to a narrower bit may help... maybe not. Those much more knowledgeable than me will be answering here I'm sure. Good luck!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    How do you lunge him? Attached to his halter? Have tried both, attached to bit and halter. I notice that it is alot less on the lunge then under saddle but he only does it under saddle as a kind of avoidance measure. If it is avoidance what would help that?

    How is his stress level usually? Is he opening is mouth to avoid to work/the contact or kind of grind it in some sort of discomfort? Seems to me like its an avoidance issue generally this is a low stress horse but he is dominant and confident.

    You sais you ruled out the teeth, but how old is he? He's just turning 7 this year.

    How is his back? Back is good, regular chiro work and I check his back muscles each day before I ride

    At liberty he will open his mouth at first but then stop. So this is a contact issue as such BUT he will do it on a loose rein also so not a heavy handed issue (if that makes any sense) So basically any contact with the rein can cause this.

    have you considered a sensitivity to the metal? Will confess this never crossed my mind (thats why I like this board ) The happy mouth has very little metal in it- enough to still cause an issue or not?
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    Have you ruled out dental issues? He's clearly trying to communicate something with you. He had his teeth done last week by a vet who specializes in dentisty that I trust 100%.

    I know something is causing the issue, just not sure what, the bit? me? him?

    Is the bit that you are using one of those fat type of bits? I was using a narrow loosering and wondered if it was too narrow so moved to a fatter happy mouth, same issue.

    Thanks guys keep coming, I will look into ports (if someone can link legal ones) and metals.
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2004
    Posts
    2,344

    Default

    just tighten the flash and leave it there



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2009
    Location
    The Great Plains of Canada
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    3,066

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
    Can you link what you mean and are they legal for dressage?

    (He has regular chiro work)
    Here's essentially what I was speaking of:
    http://www.greenhawk.net/cgi-local/S...e0b+1265344895
    But without the hooks.

    Here is another selection:
    http://www.jonathanfieldstore.net/pr...cb4cc9fe26d0f8
    I took clinics through Jonathan Field and have attended his Myler/Jonathan Field bit seminars. I have really found his knowledge invaluable and have great respect for him.

    If you want to try them out, just try out one of the cheaper ones then go from there to see what works best for him if he seems happier with the low port.

    ETA: actually it seems the ports are illegal (sorry, I am just getting into dressage seriously myself) so if you were to use it, it would have to be strictly as a training aid, but then you have the problem of your horse perhaps not performing as well in the ring if he is not in his regular bit (?). Obviously the dressage riders I have seen using ported bits were only doing so at a local level, sorry

    ETA2: if you used a ported bit to train at home and he did well in it, maybe he would still go well in a double-jointed loose-ring (no french link though) in the dresage arena?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
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    10,086

    Default

    The two bits that my horse is happiest in are the Sprenger Duo and the Sprenger Dynamic RS. Former is a loose-ring and latter is a D-eggbutt hybrid. At one point we thought it was a metal vs plastic issue but I have to say he's probably happier in the RS.

    He doesn't open his mouth a lot, but will grind and get tense in his neck (for lack of a better explanation).

    I used to be one of those people who pooh-poohed expensive bits but it makes a difference with this horse.
    The Evil Chem Prof



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Uggggggggghhhhhhh! Omg, yeah, lets just ignore the horse is offering a suggestion that something is wrong, can you please help me? Tighten the flash and say "...... you" horse, deal with it.
    Oh look, my very first online retort against the ignorant and the unethical.



    Quote Originally Posted by mickeydoodle View Post
    just tighten the flash and leave it there



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    Newt in defense of that statement there is a line of thinking that he's just doing it as an evasion (smart horse who learns to evade fast). If you put a stop to the evasion (using the flash) he learns not to do it.

    I'm just on the fence as to if this is an evasion issue or a comfort issue. Obviously plan to rule out comfort issue first.
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2003
    Location
    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...cd2=1265339519

    this is what he is currently in (just bought it this week)
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    781

    Default

    I second the Spregner Dynamic RS eggbutt type. My small-mouthed horse is very very happy in this, along with a correctly fitted drop noseband. I suspect I could ride him without the noseband these days....I had tried full cheek (FM) snaffles, with keepers, normal eggbutt, loose ring S/S and loose ring KK...now his mouth is still and closed, and he carries the bit.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    the Spregner Dynamic RS eggbutt looks like a great bit but I'm VERY reluctant to spend $135 on a bit that may not change anything (obviously if it works then its a not an issue)
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2006
    Posts
    1,396

    Default

    Was he checked for partially hidden wolf teeth? Other than that, I would need to see him work to try to figure out the problem.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2007
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    1,960

    Default

    The oval link JP bit is similar to the Dynamic Sp and is nowhere near the pricetag.
    Riding the winds of change

    Heeling NRG Aussies
    Like us on facebook!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    My horse will gape his mouth if I am not careful.

    One piece of advice I was given was to stop riding him uphill for a second or two...

    hear me out lol

    He was lifting, but not correctly, and so he was still stiff enough to not really be ON the bit make sense?

    So I shut him down so to speak and went very long and low in all gaits pushing him forward to stretch and reach in both leg and back, down the rein for a week or two and TADA, when he rounded after that, much better connection.

    Hmmm

    Depends on the kind of horse though too, im refering to an arab in this situation thats a bit tense sometimes in the mouth anyway...



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Okay, I apologize to mickeydoodle for being harsh and sounding nasty in the post. I was wrong to jump to conclusions.

    JackSprat, how long has the horse been under saddle and wearing a bit/bridle? I've seen so many greenies holding their mouth that way for the first few rides (but not much longer than that). You've had some good answers to your question from others, I hope you find your answer.

    [QUOTE=JackSprats Mom;4663586]Newt in defense of that statement there is a line of thinking that he's just doing it as an evasion (smart horse who learns to evade fast). If you put a stop to the evasion (using the flash) he learns not to do it.



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