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Lack of saliva with bit

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  • Lack of saliva with bit

    This is an imported Dutch horse that does not salivate at all. I have tried many different bits including ones with copper inlays and all copper, different mouth pieces, side pieces, shapes. He has been in a Mikmar, a Mylar, snaffles, french links, 2 ring, etc...nothing seems to be the right one. In general his mouth is very dead. He needs to be resoftened EVERY time he gets ridden. In many of the bits he visibly looks uncomfortable as he opens his mouth and kinda chomps it a bit. He is the most responsive in the 2 ring but we can not show with that. He is a Hunter/Equitation horse. He is never strong or heavy just kinda dead mouthed in anything I have tried except the 2 ring.
    Could this dry mouth be an imbalance of something in his diet? When he eats hay he constantly dunks it in water. He has had his teeth floated by an expert 2 months ago.
    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Maybe he's just a "mouth breather."

    Have you tried Gum Bits?

    http://www.horsesdaily.com/market/fi...ts/kane-1.html

    http://www.gambitatlanta.com/
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

    Comment


    • #3
      No idea - sorry. I've heard of dead mouthed horses from riders yanking on them all the time - just had nothing to do with lack of saliva. (As a hunter/jumper all sorts of bits could have been placed in his mouth.)

      Perhaps Probiotics would help? That's grasping at straws but if he's imported his tummy could have gotten screwed up during import and the probiotic powder is VERY inexpensive for a one-shot deal. Plus I'd have to phone in a question about the saliva to my vet. In the interim try to ride him in a loose ring/D-ring snaffle to see if selecting a softer bit and being VERY quiet in your hands helps the situation.
      Now in Kentucky

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        That sounds interesting but there is no picture on the website. What do the side pieces look like?.....oops, ok I see , its not a bit but a candy to help them salivate!

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a horse like that. Very tense on the bits, no saliva, acted like they were all uncomfortable. The trainer she came from had a bit of a reputation for being rough, and this was a sensitive mare with no confidence, but a huge ego. (Try that for a combo!)

          I switched her to a fat rubber bar bit (temporarily) and fed her peppermints before and during all work. She learned to stay soft on the bit because it couldn't hurt her, and the peppermints made her salivate. After a few weeks I moved her back to a smooth snaffle and never had the problem again. Every once in awhile I'd work her in the bar bit just to reinforce the notion that bits don't hurt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Dittos on feeding peppermints, sugar cubes, apple slices -- experiment to find the substance that triggers some salivation.

            The other suggestions regarding rubber mullens or other "soft" bits with VERY quiet hands are spot-on. I like French links. You might even try a Waterford to see if the bumpiness triggers salivation. My coach used one briefly during jumping lessons on her dressage horse and it did a lot to soften him up. His problem is not salivation, but getting bully with her in the bridle. (Big horse, tiny rider)

            Hay dunking seems to be a habit/preference for soaked hay. My gelding does it and has no problem salivating. Although when I first got him, he was quite dry-mouthed. (Ex-jumper)

            I have a student with a rescued Arab who was probably badly used (he has a deep scar across his tongue) and while he has a very sensitive mouth, he does not salivate. We get all excited if we see even a skim of spit around his lips after a ride. Apple slices help a little, but he's in his 20's now. This may be as good as it gets.

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            • #7
              You could try dropping the bit down a hole.

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              • #8
                my horse tends to be dry too. One day before I rode, I gave him some Tums cause he had eaten his grain a little closer to the ride than I like.... and lo and behold.. he drooled pretty well!
                He also likes to drool more with the soft peppermint candies too.

                Though I keep telling myself that it's not from the treats, it's cause we're working more effectively now

                Comment


                • #9
                  My suggestion is stop changing bits, let him settle in to one bit. Put the horse in an ordinary loose ring snaffle and take lessons from a good person.

                  Give the horse some chopped alfalfa before you ride or some apples if it bothers you.

                  I think you're assigning way more importance to it than it deserves. If the horse is going correctly and is comfortable don't worry about it. Being comfortable and correct has a lot more to do with correctly fitted bits and correctly adjusted bridle, and correct riding, than whether you see spit on the horse's lips or not.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                    My suggestion is stop changing bits, let him settle in to one bit. Put the horse in an ordinary loose ring snaffle and take lessons from a good person.

                    Give the horse some chopped alfalfa before you ride or some apples if it bothers you.

                    I think you're assigning way more importance to it than it deserves. If the horse is going correctly and is comfortable don't worry about it. Being comfortable and correct has a lot more to do with correctly fitted bits and correctly adjusted bridle, and correct riding, than whether you see spit on the horse's lips or not.
                    I totally agree with this. I read an article somewhere recently that was talking about why horse's get "lipstick" while being ridden. It had something to do with the salivary glands being stimulated when a horse was working correctly on the bit. The article also said that every horse is different though. Some drown themselves in their own spit, and some don't foam up at all.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      PAROTID GLANDS PEOPLE!

                      FOAMING AT THE MOUTH IS NOT PRIMARILY FROM THE BIT. Foam in the mouth comes yes, partially from your horse chewing the bit, but is primarily a result of activating the PAROTID GLANDS which are located in the horses gullet where there head ties into their neck (their throat, where the throatlatch goes). This is why you see more foam when horses are arched and bending and giving in their poll, the throatlatch area is relaxed and the change in head and neck carriage activates the PAROTID GLANDS and voila; foam. Copper bits, apples, etc will help make foamy mouth just like chewing the bit, but most slobber is from those parotids relaxing. This is also why you don't see slobber when people try to ride dressage movements on a tense, unrelaxed horse, that is probably bending in his 2nd or 3rd or 4th neck vertebrae instead of his poll. The tension the horse carries in his underneck does not allow the relaxation in the gullet that activates the Parotids.
                      "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't go so far as to say that a very dead mouth with no flexible supple connection with the hand is good, but I would try to deal with that by training, and don't feel it is caused by how much saliva you see on the horse's lips.

                        In many cases, froth around the mouth is actually a sign for concern. Horses that are tense can tend to immediately show froth around the mouth, because they are behind the bit and tense; that compresses the salivary glands and the tense chewing makes the froth.

                        Ideally, if a horse shows some froth, it is because it has a flexible connection and is quietly, slowly chewing the bit in a relaxed way.

                        Because a horse shows no froth does not mean there is a problem - some horses work their jaw and throat very correctly, but swallow. Some horses don't like froth on their lips and don't let it come out of their mouth. Some horse's mouths are shaped so that the froth doesn't come out.

                        Like over reach at the walk, it has assumed far, far too much significance or black and whiteness in many people's minds.

                        "You could drop the bit down a hole"

                        (pictures the eager disciple rushing out to his backyard, eagerly digging a small hole with a trowel and with unrestrained joy, dropping the bit into it, and then posting, 'OK, what do I do next?').

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ROFL

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            hahahahhaha slc2, thank you. you have truly made my night.
                            The Little Man

                            Blog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, we just use fruit rollups when we need to. Just wrap one around the bit.

                              Now you people who don't believe in sugar or shoes won't like the idea, but it works when you need to do it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                So wait.

                                Your horse has a dead, inflexible contact, pulls like an effing train, and you...you put a fruit rollup on his bit?

                                Let me see, I'm getting a picture of this....horsey is running around the show ring, head down around his knees, pulling like a steam locomotive, while the desperate rider is clinging to his ears, shouting, 'GIVE ME A FRUIT ROLLUP! SOMEONE QUICK!'

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I don't think OP's horse is a puller, just dead-mouthed and produces no saliva.

                                  I dunno, maybe more positive drive from the legs into the bit? Without photos or video, it's hard to know what else might be going on.

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                                  • #18
                                    most 'dead' is from not suppling horse sufficiently. usually answer is not making more froth or spit, and not a different bit.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Peeps. Really.
                                      www.specialhorses.org
                                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                        So wait.

                                        Your horse has a dead, inflexible contact, pulls like an effing train, and you...you put a fruit rollup on his bit?

                                        Let me see, I'm getting a picture of this....horsey is running around the show ring, head down around his knees, pulling like a steam locomotive, while the desperate rider is clinging to his ears, shouting, 'GIVE ME A FRUIT ROLLUP! SOMEONE QUICK!'
                                        Hey, you never know! Maybe the "3-feet of fun" rainbow power sequestered in the Fruil Rollup will make my horse light and collected enough to do a canter pirouette!
                                        I told you: "inside leg to outside rein, not inside leg to outside rail!"

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