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Suggestions for treating/preventing Spits/cuts at the corner of the mouth?

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  • Suggestions for treating/preventing Spits/cuts at the corner of the mouth?

    After a show a couple of weeks ago I noticed a nasty cut on the corner of my horse's lips, I know it wasn't present at the show because i would have noticed when bridling him, as i noticed while simply removing his fly mask at night. The next morning on closer inspection i noticed inside his lip/cheek area there was even an ulcer type sore. He was eating fine and since i wasn't riding him again for several days i just kept an eye on it.
    It seemed fine and all healed by the weekend so i rode him in his regular eco pure french link dee ring. And i could tell by the end of the ride that he must have split it again, because he got really fussy on that side of the bit. (lett side).
    Sure enough it was split again at the corner, but not really visible from the outside, the sore/ulcer is gone.

    So i started riding him in a hackamore, and was pleasantly surprised.. but would like the extra bit of control i get from a bit. so last weekend with no visible signs of a split i rode again in a happy mouth full cheek. another bit he likes and never has trouble with. This time he seemed fine the whole ride, but the next day i checked and a split again.. not horrible, but enough that i know I can't ride with a bit.
    Clearly I will be riding in the hackamore for a while.. and will have to have crunch time this weekend as we have a show next weekend and we will need to get our communication down before then... but what could be causing this? It seems all of a sudden and I haven't changed anything and its only on one side of his mouth.. he teeth seem fine and I will have the Dentist look at them when he out next, but i just am puzzled as what could be causing it.
    I'm planning on starting to put vaseline or some A &D ointment until i can order some bit butter or something similar designed for this area... and the other day i broke down and just sprayed some alumishield on it... he wasn't happy but i figured it could help it have chance to heal, as it works well on his other cuts and scraps.

    Any and all suggestions would be helpful. thanks

  • #2
    Mr. Sandman
    sand me a man
    make him so sandy
    the sandiest man


    • #3
      Have you actually measured his mouth for width?

      I see splits, rubs, mostly when bits are the wrong size. Bit sides rub the horse, sore him while you ride when using the reins and applying pressure to the bit.

      I measure using a new pencil. Lay it across his tongue with one end even with his lip on one side, then pinch or mark the other pencil end even with lip on that side. Remove the pencil from his mouth and measure to learn his correct width.

      When buying a bit, that mouth measurement needs to be INSIDE the bit sides so horse has the full mouthpiece size he needs.

      Doing 4H, Pony Club, we often found horses wearing bits way too small. Owner bought "a pony bit" or small horse bit "because he has a refined head". They were guessing or buying "average sizes" with no idea of the animal's correct size for a good fitting bit. Measuring mouths as described above, was a real eye opener to them! Bits were an inch to an inch and a half too small. Amazing how many issues disappeared with a new, correctly sized bit! My young horses usually start training wearing 5 1/2 inch bits, but will mature into 6 inch bits. They are large horses, but even the smaller mare at 16h, needs a 6 inch bit. Breeding is similar, they have wide jaws.

      Height of an animal has nothing to do with mouth width. Many of the larger pony breeds, Fjord, Haflinger, crossbreds, will need a wide bit. Maybe even a 6 inch one, to be correctly fitted. My old 12.2h Welsh pony cross wore a 5 inch bit, not a pony bit size. She " looked" refined but the measuring pencil said 5 inch width so she was not getting pinched or rubbing on her teeth.

      I will second Corona on the lip sores for healing.


      • #4
        I Third Corona - great stuff.
        If you can't find it, Udder Butter (a Corona product) is good too, just a little looser ointment.

        A thought:
        Does your horse have fleshy lips?
        DH's TWH did, and a loosering pinched those lips, causing small cuts.
        We switched him to an eggbutt and no more pinchmarks.
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


        • #5
          Effol mouth butter (tasty)
          Stubben goldwings bit


          • #6
            Ditto goodhors suggestion to double check the size bit you are using, just to make sure its accurate.

            However, if you've been riding for some time with no issues with either bit (like a year or so), I might be inclined to think that perhaps he has a sharp ridge on a tooth that the inside of the lip may be snagging on. So if he hasn't had a dental check in a while, you might want to have his teeth checked.

            And while I've never had this happen personally - really inspect closely the side of the bit where the mouth issue occurs. Are there any imperfections in the bit surface or is it perfectly smooth and uniform? Because happy mouth and other softer bits can develop small tears or ridges or other imperfections with use, that can cause mouth/tongue issues. Use a magnifying glass if need be to make sure the bit is OK.
            ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


            • #7
              Also, Lysine.


              • Original Poster

                Sorry to have been MIA for so long. Crazy work week and trying to get hay up as well.
                Thank for all The suggestions. I will definitely double check the sizing but he had been happily using the bits for some time and this seems to be a new problem. The equine density will have a looks at him this week. But he was just done in March, but he may need something done. My retired gelding needed his teeth done every 6 months but he was a bad parrot mouth and this guy doesn’t seem to have any mouth abnormalities.

                I will keep everyone updated. If I find out anything from the dentist. He is doing pretty good in a hackamore, but I don’t really have a whoa when he gets going super fast which sometimes he gets excited when. Are having a great jumper round.


                • #9
                  I have had an equine dentist suggest glycerin to me as well. You could always try to put that at the corners of each side of the bit. It helps with the bit "sliding" a bit at the corners of the mouth. I used to flavour mine with grape and they loved it since glycerin is already a bit sweet


                  • #10
                    If you are using a loose ring snaffle, check the edges of the mouthpiece where the rings go through. Over time they can wear and become sharp. Also, the holes can become enlarged and actually pinch a bit of flesh.... I recently replaced a bit for this same reason... and I noticed it because of a slight rub on the corner of his mouth.


                    • Original Poster

                      lorilu I’ve been using either his French link eco pure Dee ring or his French link baucher. He hates a loose ring. Waaay too much movement for him. The dentist is gonna look at him tomorrow and hopefully help. Thankfully I’ve been working on riding him in a mechanical hackamore and he has been doing really good. Forcing me to ride off my leg and seatbelt so win win in that respect. But I don’t want him to be in pain if it is his teeth. He tries so hard and really is such a good boy.


                      • #12
                        My horse dentist suggests using Tincture of Mhur (sp?) or Preparation H. He also said rubber bits can actually tear the mouth more.


                        • #13
                          Tincture of Myrrh-


                          • Original Poster

                            Atlas Shrugged interesting. so far it seems to be healing well as long as i don't use a bit.. he has been doing very well in his hackamore.
                            the equine dentist said his teeth look good but that he does seem to be extra fleshy inside near the corners of the mouth.

                            We are starting to think that at the last show when i adjusted the noseband slightly higher, and tightened the flash ( not overly tight just tighter than i usually ride with normally i ride with it so lose my trainer doesn't see the point.. she adjusted it to the 2 fingers tightness and I'm wondering if it was just enough of a change to cause him to bit his lip/cheek and then split the corner.)
                            still so weird to me that its only one side and not both, which leads me to believe that its not necessarily the bit but possible now the noseband. i just want him to be happy, so for now we will use the simple mechanical hackamore.. I do have some Bit Butter on hold at the tack trailer that will be at the show this weekend. so even if he isn't using a bit i want to try it as he can sometimes wiggle his tongue around when he is anxious. though he hasn't been doing it now that we are in the hackamore.


                            • #15
                              So did you actually measure his mouth for size? He may need a larger size mouthpiece to allow room for fleshy lips, now that Dentist says it is not his teeth.

                              With it being a one-sided rub, I am going to say "rider hands" is a part of the problem. Hands can be a body issue, sitting harder on one side, harder pull on one rein, uneven stirrups. Have you ever removed stirrup leathers, compared them to see if the left (mounting side) has stretched further than the right side leather?

                              Noseband being slightly tighter could be a little part of the issue, but he has other stuff going on that I would try fixing first.


                              • #16
                                I've used bodyglide for a SUPER sensitive skinned horse who got rubs from everything (e.g., bits, fly masks, spurs, and even spurless legs!)


                                • Original Poster

                                  yes I've confirmed the bit size, its not an issue, and I've found him to be happier inn a thinner mouthpiece. Which is why is use the Eco-Pure rubber bits as they aren't as bit and bulky and he doesn't chew them as much as he does a traditional hard rubber mouth piece... I also will wrap the regular metal bits like his french link baucher in sealtex which he seems to like. While he doesn't chew it as much as a hard rubber bit, I do stay on top of it in regards to changing out the sealtex when it starts to get worn or breaks down.
                                  And i will admit i am weaker on my left side which is due to basically having a whole bad left side ( born with corrected his displacia, desolated the left knee twice, knee surgery to try to stop dislocations, acute ankle sprain, and then last year broke my 5 th metatarsal). so i do my best to get into the Chiro and stretch myself as well as have him checked, I also do work on his trigger points before and sometimes after each ride, and of course make sure he is being shod correctly.. I am having the saddle fitter meet me at the show tomorrow and I think there is some room for improvement there, But it would really be more a tweaking of the flocking than a huge major adjustment.
                                  I'm sure my hands could be better,,, but it just seems weird to me that its is all of a sudden. maybe he was just trying to tell me he is happiest in a hackamore. He always was fussy in a bit, so maybe i just wasn't listening and he figured out a way to make it easier for me to comprehend.