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Wondering if anyone else's horse does this

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  • Wondering if anyone else's horse does this

    and what it may mean. My mare does this jaw thing, kind of looks like she is trying to pop her jaw or maybe stretch it. She was doing it yesterday when I went to say Merry Christmas to her and was talking to the BO. She was in a pasture standing near us (we were very close to the fence). She was just hanging out close to us while we talked a bit.

    I asked the BO about it and she said maybe it is a habit she has, but has not seen it before. She also does it when we are grooming/tacking up. She has never done it while ridden. Just curious if anyone has had a horse do this.

  • #2
    My thorougbred used to do that when I first got him, and then I had his teeth done. He would start to cock his head, stretch his neck out, gape his mouth open and 'pop' his jaw when his teeth needed to be redone. Which was every 7-8 months. He also had ulcers.

    Does your mare do this when she eats? Does she drop any of her grain when eating?


    • #3
      My 6 year old OTTB does this. Every time we put the bridle on,she opens her mouth wide as can be, and moves her jaw back and forth. It's a struggle just to get the noseband tightened. She's always done it, and I suspect she always will. Teeth are done regularly and bit changes make no difference.
      "Anti-intellect and marketing, pretty, pretty, who needs talent
      Crying eyes, we're so outnumbered, fight for the right to remain silent" Buck 65


      • #4
        Two of my TBs have done it before I put the bridle on. They seem to want to stretch their jaw out, I haven't noticed any sign of discomfort, more a desire to stretch before working. I didn't use a tight flash or noseband on either.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Miss J View Post
          My thorougbred used to do that when I first got him, and then I had his teeth done. He would start to cock his head, stretch his neck out, gape his mouth open and 'pop' his jaw when his teeth needed to be redone. Which was every 7-8 months. He also had ulcers.

          Does your mare do this when she eats? Does she drop any of her grain when eating?
          She does not really cock her head, maybe stretches her neck out a bit. She does not do this when eating and does not drop any food. She is also a 4.5 year old TB, never been on the track.


          • #6
            My horse holds tension in his jaw and TMJ. He used to cross his jaw while being ridden. Then, it seems, he learned to release tension before being ridden. When I drop the halter to bridle him, he stretches his neck down and proceeds to yawn and jaw until I get impatient and ask him to stop.

            No more jaw crossing.

            I would suspect that your mare has some TMJ issues and I would mention it to both her dentist (which she should have anyway) and her massage therapist/chiro if she happens to have one of those.
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              My mare does this also when you briddle her up... it can look like the bit is making her naucious. It can last a while until I reach for the noseband. She was not raced from what I can tell ( no tatoo) but other than that her past is a bit scetchy. She is tb and this has gotten sort of worst lately. She will get her teeth floated in the next month....
              As I have groomed for pretty much every level of eventing and H/J I can say it is the first time I have seen this.
              I am thinking of getting her a better bridle ( she has a strange shape face) the kind of bit changes nothing. She no longer grits her teeth exept on a very bad day.
              She also has this very perticular behavior as I bridle her. When I remove the halter she will lean into me and want to have her neck and pole rubbed. It is very sweet and as the left side of her neck is always stiff I indulge her.

              As she was a broodmare with minimal human contact for most of her life she has developped this behaviour only lately and I take is as she has adopted me as her human. She is a very tender and sweet mare.


              • #8
                My old thoroughbred used to do this. He also yawned constantly and tended to cross his jaw. Turned out, when we had the chiropractor out working on him, that his whole jaw was out. If you lifted up his lips (and he didn't get mad) you could see that his whole jaw was just shifted over half an inch to an inch. We were never able to get it back into place but he was happy, his teeth were in good shape, and it never affected how he went under saddle.

                My new guy does it to, 5yo warmblood. He is a little more resistant into the bridle but as far as we know, it is just a habit.
                "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline


                • #9
                  i think the name for what you are describing is called cross jaw


                  • #10
                    Make sure your dentist is a good one, and get the horse a chiro/massage visit for the TMJ. My mare will do this when her TMJ is bothering her, and after having an amazing dentist do her teeth, I now know why! Shoddy dentistry in the past...

                    Also, the poll and the atlas where the C1 vertebra connect is a very important junction, and can hold a LOT of tension, and not just tension from that area. Tension from the hind end can tighten up the C1 area, causing tension in the poll.
                    "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."