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Teeth grinding.

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  • Teeth grinding.

    My (gelded late), gelding is a tooth grinder. He usually does it after we've been riding for about 20 minutes, when he really starts 'working'. He likes his job, loves to jump, but just grinds his teeth, kind of like a mare. Seems to be a habit, but I'm wondering if this is to be penalized in the hunters since it could be considered a sign of disobedience? (That being if the judge can even hear it).

    I'm very light on his mouth and I don't hang, he is ridden in a Waterford (which he is happiest in) and just had his teeth done. He doesn't pull but sometimes he needs to be 'bumped' up when he sticks his nose out too far and down-(gets too much on the forehand). He is a pretty easy ride, I don't have any issues riding back to front with him.

    Is there anything that can be done to fix this? It's more annoying than anything, but I hate to think that he's going around with his jaw clenched shut as I'm sure that can pose problems in the future, and when showing hunters it could also be an issue. Or, is it just something he'll always do..

    TIA.

  • #2
    Have you had him checked for ulcers? Try putting him on ulcer or gastro gaurd. That might help!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      You cannot address it directly. But you can use my highly complicated and complete brain-washing technique to help.

      First, do consider ulcers as a cause. But also the physical list might be hock pain--before you'd actually find other signs of soreness like tight muscles and months before you ever saw shorter strides, stabbiness or actual lameness back there.

      On the "half physical, half mental" front, consider lack of fitness as in getting back into shape and the swing of having a consistent job.

      On the completely between the ears front, you need to ask what you can do to build his work ethic. If you horse is an easy ride and obedient, this is his way of expressing stress in a safe way. Trainers warned me that you couldn't punish for it as the horse doesn't pay attention to the fact he is grinding his teeth. But you can ride them into a period of teeth grinding and then look for a place where they stop and then instantly get off. If you can't get that in the ring, take your work out outside without interruption and see if you can find that moment where he quits for a bit. Don't wait for too long-- you'll miss the moment.

      You can also make your work routine so varied that they don't have enough brain power left over to devote to feeling sorry for themselves. That and breaking up what I did with my tooth grinder (plus the hocks, fitness and consistency pieces) were what fixed it for my gelding. I also made sure I asked for things that made him grind his teeth for very short periods. I offered him a deal. The sooner he'd do the hard thing right, the sooner we'd walk.

      A couple of years into this, he had abandoned the habit. It came back once when I was in a clinic and the assignment was to keep trotting on the rail over poles for a long time. This horse--used to a mentally quicker and more varied ride-- had time to notice that he was tired and whine about it.

      IMO, you do need to start working on the problem before it becomes an every ride kind of habit. You don't need to stall on the rest of your goals, but if you wait until your horse does it even while doing mentally-taxing stuff like a whole course, you have a pretty deeply in-grained habit. Or, to put it another way, you will have run out of ways to distract him because he has learned to multi-task so well.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with all the above recommendations... however if a show is in your immediate future and you can't fix the problem quickly, I would try "gum bitz". The are sugar coated edible wax treats for horses. Feed 1-2 bitz right before you go into the ring. They last about the time it takes to ride one hunter round or dressage test. Totally safe and legal. Again though, they don't fix the problem of grinding teeth, they just cover up the sound.

        Good luck with your horse!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I watched a well-known dressage trainer put dirt in a horse's mouth who grinds. I guess within a month or so of doing this the horse stopped.

          What teeth grinding indicates to me is something isn't right. The tricky part is figuring out if it's physical or mental. I'd have a chat with your vet and see if he/she would have a suggestion. He might be stuck in his neck somewhere too.

          It's considered a fault in the dressage, hunters, and probably eq too. But there are tricks like aforementioned ones to do to make it around a course without getting penalized.

          Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            My TB mare used to do this when she was younger. I attributed it to the type of bits being used. She mostly did it with a rubber snaffle and rubber pelham,but would do it to some degree with any type of jointed bit. The only bit I found that she wouldn't do it with was a Happy Mouth mullen bit. She currently(for about the last 4+ years) is ridden in a hackamore.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ridden in a hackamore!

              I forgot about that part of my regime. I did ride my gelding in a home-made bitless contraption for a solid winter or so. He didn't grind his teeth in that, so i wanted to make him work without the bit as a habit-inducing excuse to grind his teeth when life at the office got harder than he thought it should be.

              I know horses have things to whine about and pain can be one. But grinding their teeth is the horse version of whining. Makes me nuts when the dressagers blow it off while they ride their otherwise broke horses with flash nose bands.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Blip9er View Post
                I agree with all the above recommendations... however if a show is in your immediate future and you can't fix the problem quickly, I would try "gum bitz". The are sugar coated edible wax treats for horses. Feed 1-2 bitz right before you go into the ring. They last about the time it takes to ride one hunter round or dressage test. Totally safe and legal. Again though, they don't fix the problem of grinding teeth, they just cover up the sound.

                Good luck with your horse!!

                OOOOHHHHH --- gotta try these!!!! I have a horse that grinds and hangs his tounge. I ride in a flash then just before we go in the arena I remove it.. very sneaky... let him eat some grass or something...

                I laughed "gum Bitz"... but if it works... cool!!! I will let you know....

                I have checked for ulcers, hocks, teeth, saddle fit, etc...... my horse just does it when he gets nervous.. like someone that bites their nails.... He even does it in his stall or in the cross ties when nervous.... When hes calm and relaxed it doesn't happen..... SOOOO A treat will probably do the trick for mine....
                Live in the sunshine.
                Swim in the sea.
                Drink the wild air.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Where do I find GUM BITZ???!!!!

                  Hurry --- Hurry!

                  I googled it and NOTHING!

                  I did find wax lips........Can I feed him Candy wax LIPS??
                  Live in the sunshine.
                  Swim in the sea.
                  Drink the wild air.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My old appendix mare did this ALL of the time.

                    No ulcers, no pain, she would just grind her teeth. She did it mainly when other horses would go by us in the ring as if she was trying to growl at them to keep away (no kicking though).

                    I thought it was the funniest thing ever, and we'd never get penalized for it. We showed hunters & jumpers & western pleasure.
                    Friend of bar.ka!
                    Originally posted by MHM
                    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
                    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My also late gelded thbd grinds his teeth. I don't think that the late gelding is significant.

                      I have tried many bits, treated for ulcers, had chiro, get his teeth done regularly, saddle fitted, moved him to 24/7 turnout.... He is just neurotic and at 13 I doubt he is going to stop. He does it more when the work gets tough or he is stressed about something (which could be someone moved a jump in the ring!) and he never does it while jumping. Just a habit and outlet for his nerves. He also is a weaver and a head nodder. He is an eventer so I only worry for one phase but have been on a hunt for the Gum Bitz. You can use plain glycerin too.
                      "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ^^ My mare was also a weaver, but we attributed that to being kept in a stall almost all the time as a youngster when they were showing her in Halter
                        Friend of bar.ka!
                        Originally posted by MHM
                        GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
                        "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have tried many bits, treated for ulcers, had chiro, get his teeth done regularly, saddle fitted, moved him to 24/7 turnout.... He is just neurotic and at 13 I doubt he is going to stop. He does it more when the work gets tough or he is stressed about something (which could be someone moved a jump in the ring!) and he never does it while jumping. Just a habit and outlet for his nerves.
                          This, exactly.

                          It was my OTTB's only neurotic habit, so I felt we got off lucky. He spent 7 years on the chuckwagons, he could've picked up way worse habits than that.

                          He did it when he was ridden in a halter, which was the major clue that it was not going to stop.

                          When everything was quiet, easy and I was riding PERFECTLY, he ground his teeth less. If I was particularly messing up bad and off balance, he definitely ground worse. He always did it to some degree at the canter on the flat though. Never on jump courses or through gymnastics.

                          Lots of competition horses have annoying habits. If it isn't new and you're reasonably certain there is nothing medically wrong...don't worry about it.
                          Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a bag of these. Used them on a horse that did the grinding a bit into his ride as well. They do work but not every horse will just eat them up. I mixed some of them up with a little grain to feed it to the horse.

                            I just tried to run a search to find them and couldn't. If you end up not finding them, report so here and I'll get the contact info off the bag.

                            "If you have the time, spend it. If you have a hand, lend it. If you have the money, give it. If you have a heart, share it." by me

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Anyplace Farm View Post
                              I have a bag of these. Used them on a horse that did the grinding a bit into his ride as well. They do work but not every horse will just eat them up. I mixed some of them up with a little grain to feed it to the horse.

                              I just tried to run a search to find them and couldn't. If you end up not finding them, report so here and I'll get the contact info off the bag.

                              I can't find them. I wanted to resort to candy wax lips! If you have the info could you forward it on here? THANKS!
                              Live in the sunshine.
                              Swim in the sea.
                              Drink the wild air.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I grind my teeth and clench my jaw when I'm stressed...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by doublesstable View Post
                                  I can't find them. I wanted to resort to candy wax lips! If you have the info could you forward it on here? THANKS!
                                  When this thread came up some time ago when I first found about Gum Bits, someone else posted saying it was an old horsemen's trick to take a glycerine bar and rub it up against the outsides of the horse's teeth as well. Didn't even have to go across the tops - the outsides - as if you were rasping hooks off the teeth. A few other people chimed in, said they had heard of the same practice and it worked. So, you might want to try that as well.

                                  I will try to remember to get the info off of the bag tonight.

                                  "If you have the time, spend it. If you have a hand, lend it. If you have the money, give it. If you have a heart, share it." by me

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Gum bits

                                    http://www.gambitatlanta.com/gumbits.html

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                                      I grind my teeth and clench my jaw when I'm stressed...
                                      Me too, but also when I'm concentrating! I actually do it when I'm riding too.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Augh! I just walked down to the garage and dug the bag out. And then I see this!

                                        "If you have the time, spend it. If you have a hand, lend it. If you have the money, give it. If you have a heart, share it." by me

                                        Comment

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