Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bit drama

Lily has decided she won't take her bit. This is somewhat out of nowhere, she's been floated, and she's doing better with her shoulder.

But she refuses to take the bit. I think this stems from how little work she's getting which is a bigger problem we will have to deal with.

No giraffe head, she's just gritting her teeth and no amount of tongue rubbing is working. I worked the snot out of her and got it in after, but it's not pretty.

What techniques have you used?


Anonymous said...

I've never had this problem - all my horses open right up. Could she have eaten something that irritated her mouth or gums? There are some things in our part of the world that can do that or leave barbs in the tongue or gums.

You could probably train her to open her mouth - whether for the bit or any other reason - with clicker.

Cheyenne said...

maybe? Just maybe......She dont like metal in her mouth? Just a thought.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

A trainer friend of ours goes back to basic ground work - primarily round pen work to establish the relationship again before working on the bit issue. Once the horse is soft through the ground work, the bit usually will go in much easier. It's not something you can rush.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

As stated above, it's usually a sign of a bigger problem, but in a pinch I slip my finger in and touch the roof of the mouth.

Leah Fry said...

Jaz never wants to open his mouth. He doesn't fight it, he just doesn't willingly open. up. If you're in a hurry, stick your finger in and touch the roof of the mouth. Also, rinse the bit with some Gatorade, or rub a little molasses on it.

Reddunappy said...

I have a mare that always hated dropping the bit. I got her a snaffle and a curb that have the white plastic mouthpieces, it helped tremendously! Some of them are apple flavored too. She just didnt like any metal touching her teeth. Toklat has some nice ones.

Story said...

When I had bridle problems what we did was almost ritualize the process. She must drop her head, she must turn toward me, one hand holds the crown of the bridle from between her ears, the other hand maneuvers the bit. If she is reluctant to open her mouth I start with my thumb on her bars, then the tongue, then the roof of her mouth. Always the exact same way. By doing it like this I think we were able to not just establish a habit but also expectations. We used to have almost panicked reactions to putting the bridle on. She doesn't worry anymore

Shirley said...

Perhaps you could go bitless with her? It may not solve the issue , which could be either physical or a training issue, but you would be able to see if she goes just as well. As far as a physical issue goes, floating the teeth is just one aspect of the mouth; she may have problems with her TMJ or her axis may be out. A check up with a horse chiropractor might be a good thing.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Has she ever done this before? What kind of bit are you using?
Some horses have a low roof and a one piece snaffle will become painful. Either a bit with a solid bar or a three piece 'dog bone' french link bit will help.

Also like Leah said, sometimes you can make the bit taste better. A possibility is that maybe a mouse peed on it an she can smell it, and says "no way is that going in my mouth"

Maybe you could also try a bosal or other bitless option?