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Teeth Grinding, any ideas aside from gumbits?

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  • Teeth Grinding, any ideas aside from gumbits?

    ive got a 4y/o oldenburg gelding that tends to grind his teeth in the beg of the rides, once he gets going he stops, but if he is nervouse or the pressure is on he grinds like crazy! My trainer is telling me to use gumbits, but they are very $!!! A friend rec trying to line the bit with honey. He is a healthy, sound, guy, with a proper fit of saddle, bridle ect. So it isnt that he is uncomftorable. Just looking for ideas to cure the gridding before it becomes a habit! many thanks!!

  • #2
    I had a young horse that would grind his teeth at the begining of the rides due to being tight in his poll and jaw. Started doing stretching with him before the ride : side to side, up, and then from up to level with where he would be for under saddle and staying in that position to flexing more to his neck.

    Like I said his was due to soreness and being stiff, which is why he would work out of it.


    • #3
      If there is no other sign of tension, and this is just eagerness or anticipation, and the horse otherwise looks correct and relaxed, it will not count against you at a competition. But if it is a part of a general pattern of tension, it will affect the score, and it does need to be addressed.

      It may be that the horse will stop grinding if the bit position is raised, the noseband tightened, the bit type changed (a 3 piece snaffle sometimes is better than the older style two piece snaffle), if the bit is rubbed with soap, oil, or if something that encourages chewing and relaxing is put in the mouth - diced apples, diced carrots. Bending and suppling can remove it only if the horse does it because he is tight in the jaw and poll.


      • #4
        Have his teeth checked to see if they need floating. Once you are sure his teeth are fine try riding without a nose band. That way he can open and stretch his jaw until he feels comfortable.
        Cindy Bergmann
        Canterbury Court


        • #5
          I have what sounds like a similar 4 yo. Started with the KK Ultra Soft, the one with the rubber nugget. He liked that a lot. Now he goes in the KK WH with the roller. Likes that even better. I do agree that he is now much softer in the jaw and poll - he is getting trained up, becoming supple and almost never grinds his teeth anymore. Used to be a nervous thing or when we were working on something new. Haven't heard it for about 4 weeks now and I can position his neck/head/poll about anywhere I want. Good luck. nasty habit, was the only thing I did not like about the horse when I bought him. Thankful I was right in believing it would go away.


          • #6
            No suggestions, but I feel for ya. I have a 3-yo Arab with super-stretchy lips. He can actually suck the bit far enough into his mouth to chew on it with his molars. Drives me insane.


            • #7
              ive got a 4y/o oldenburg gelding that tends to grind his teeth in the beg of the rides, once he gets going he stops
              Well it's good that he stops once he gets going. Sounds like he's a bit of a 'worrier". You are wise to think about not having it become a habit, though. I would not look at the bit as the cause because he works out of it.

              I would work on the old faithful training scale with the relaxation,etc as a basis for the other work. Reduce the stress if possible, warm up for relaxation and then continue with the work as usual..


              • #8
                I think it was Conrad S who said that there is good grinding and bad grinding. Some horses grind when they concentrate - so part of the challenge is to determine if this is what your horse does when he thinks hard, or if he is just plain worried. He is 4. How long has he been under saddle? Pretty new to the "game"? Maybe it is just a matter of getting him relaxed with the concept of working.

                As already suggested - relaxation is your friend. Do you start with some freewalk, easy walk work just to get his muscles (and mind) warmed up?
                www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
                Director, WTF Registry


                • #9
                  I had two young horses (full brother and sister, incidentally) that would grind teeth when learning new things, or when new riders were up and asking for things in a different way. I took it as a peaceful (vs. rearing, bucking) sign of being pushed and would most often back off a touch and break down the lesson into smaller pieces. Several times, I did ride through it - once I got what I wanted from them, and praised them for it, they stopped and did not start again. They seemed to grow out of it as they got more experienced and confident about being riding horses.

                  Horses were 3yrs apart in age, and never lived on the farm at the same time. Both were ridden in KK type french link gentle snaffles and were REALLY good minded and easy to train.

                  That is my experience with teeth grinding, I think a lot of how you choose to deal with it depends on what you determine the root cause to be.
                  Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                  ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


                  • #10
                    Teeth grinding in horses is often a sign of ulcers.
                    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain


                    • #11
                      I wonder why horses get ulcers?


                      • #12
                        My own idea was to use honey-comb as a cheap alternative to gumbits. (honeycomb = edible wax). However I never actually tried due to how messy/sticky honeycomb is. Maybe you can be brave and try it.


                        • #13
                          I have a 3 year old that grinds when he gets nervous. He did it in the cross ties when I was getting him ready, bit not even in his mouth yet. I just give him tons of treats, and I mean tons, carrots, apples, whatever I can get my hands on, and I do it when tacking him up, and even when I ride. I will stop and give him a treat. He doesn't grind at all anymore, and has relaxed a bunch as well, the work and handling is always rewared with a treat. It helped him a bunch, just a simple carrot every minute or so. Now I don't have to give them as often.

                          Also I don't put his noseband on very tight at all.


                          • #14
                            My ottb did (and occasionally still does when anxious) all sorts of things with his mouth. I ignore it and it goes away. It is often a wake up for me to check my position and ride him forward.
                            A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                            • #15
                              Instead of a gumbit, you could try a basic soft rubber bit. They tend to be pretty cheap and this worked for a tooth grinder I have.



                              • #16
                                We have a horse that grinds his teeth when he gets mad.


                                • #17

                                  I have not had a single horse in my barn that would grind their teeth and did not have ulcers, including grinding their teeth in the cross ties with no bit in, like someone else mentioned. I would strongly suggest you look into that. It correlates with new riders, new exercises and harder work because all of these things can add stress to a horse. I am not saying that all horses that grind their teeth have ulcers, but every single one that has come through my barn that does it has had them in some form or another.


                                  • #18
                                    No offense, but tightening a noseband, imho, only increases grinding and/or anxiety. Getting to the root cause of the grinding is the only answer, not muffling the sound.
                                    Savor those rides where you feel like a million bucks, because there will be those where you feel like a cheap date...


                                    • #19
                                      [QUOTE=mzm farm;4394572]I had two young horses (full brother and sister, incidentally) that would grind teeth when learning new things, or when new riders were up and asking for things in a different way. I took it as a peaceful (vs. rearing, bucking) sign of being pushed and would most often back off a touch and break down the lesson into smaller pieces.

                                      I have a guy who used to do the same thing. And he only ever did it if I was asking him to work on tougher stuff. But, he would only grind his teeth when he was actually doing the movement correctly and then would quit after a bit. I just took it as him saying "I dont like it, but Ill do it".


                                      • #20
                                        My now seventeen yr old OTTB went though stages of that. It always was when he was working through something new and usually doing it very well, like working through his back and moving to a higher level of consistency/throughness and collection. I tried to stop as soon as he would stop for a moment. My instructor thought it was his emotional way of dealing with the mental pressure of the more concentrated physical work. He still does this on a rare occasion.

                                        I (we) did not take this as a thoughtful "I'll do it but I won't like it" activity. Just kind of like how we people might twist our own tongues when we are trying to unscrew a tight cap or something? I also had another advanced level rider teach me and she thought the same thing.
                                        Last edited by cutemudhorse; Sep. 24, 2009, 08:47 PM. Reason: additional statement