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Bitting considerations for a horse with an underbite...

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  • Bitting considerations for a horse with an underbite...

    I've found very little advice online. When he's due to have his teeth done again i have a great vet/dentist who can probably shed more light.
    I'm guessing there's likely less room in the mouth due to the misalignment, so there may be similarities to horses with a low palate? Also figure i need to watch how the noseband fits due to lower teeth sticking out further on the sides at the cheeks as well. I'm sure it will be a lot of trial and error. Advice?
    I'd like to start with a mullen or fat loose ring lozenge link as he is pretty backed off the bit, but am guessing with his mouth conformation he may appreciate a boucher or full cheek with keepers.
    Last edited by meaty ogre; Jun. 24, 2012, 03:39 PM. Reason: smartphone & clumsy fingers

  • #2
    No help, sorry. But I give you a lot of credit in working with this horse.

    With my low palette horse, I tried a Myler M02 bit and he hated it. He likes the KK ultra bit so far the best but it's not great. Double-jointed was definitely better than single jointed. I hope that helps.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      with a malocclusion, fit the bit to the lower, smaller jaw. check the size of his bars!!!!! Often, horses with a parrot mouth, have smaller, knife edge bars and need wider or softer bits resting on the bars. However, you do need to seriously make sure the bit fits the palate which often times is low. Best bit for a tb with major parrot mouth? For us it was either a naptha double jointed boucher or the widest jointed eggbutt. Generally he couldn't handle a loose ring, always needed a double joint and preferred if the bit had any other action than bar action.

      Another weird tidbit: horses with parrot mouth statistically have a smoother tongue and smoother lining to the gut. the theory is that smooth tongue and lining means the cell lining is thinner and might be more prone to ulcers. It certainly has been accurate for the horses I had (or currently have)


      • Original Poster

        I think parrot mouth is an overbite...I'm dealing with the opposite but still some good considerations. Thanks.


        • #5
          This bit is a bit hit with my husband's horse that has a mild underbite...his lower jaw extends maybe an 1/8" of an inch past the upper jaw, nothing dramatic...

          disregard the shank, I also use it as a snaffle using the D rings, and he likes it.


          maybe a thought for your guy. It can collapse on itself in a wad, it doesn't hold it's shape, does that make sense?


          • Original Poster

            I had a similar bit to that one above...it was an imitation myler with basically the same mouthpiece and the hooks for the cheek and rein attachments, but I sold it. I don't think they are dressage legal anyway, although we have some reschooling to do before we worry about that. Kind of wish I hadn't sold it now!

            I'm thinking that a fixed cheek attachment such as a baucher is probably going to be the way to go. A baucher should "float" over the bars which I think will be a relief to him. I've felt around a little and his bars are fleshy, but the bones underneath feel fairly sharp. I may start with a mullen to see if it helps him seek the contact. I can't tell if his palate is low or not, but I'm just going to assume that there isn't much room in there. I have a happy mouth mullen full cheek, and a happy mouth roller link baucher that I think are going to be the first ones I try. My concern there is that they may be too fat for his liking. The only other mullen mouth bit I have is a kimberwicke, and I guess I could use it with the reins at the higher slot and take the curb chain off to reduce the leverage...it has a thinner mouthpiece than the happy mouth mullen. I think this is going to be a lot of trial and error, and unfortunately I sold a big chunk of my bit collection. Thank goodness for bridles and reins with snaps! Looks like I may be doing a lot of switching around. I think I'm also going to have to do some playing around with the height of the bit. His underbite isn't horrible, but his lower molars are more forward than in a normal horse so I may have to adjust the bit a smidge lower to accomodate that, especially with the fatter bits. This is so much to think about! I've been googling horse mouth diagrams and trying to picture how the different bits work.

            I also think I'm going to try the micklem bridle and possibly a figure 8 noseband. With his underbite, his lower teeth protrude out against his cheeks and I think both of those will be more comfortable for him than a traditional caveson.