Horse: December 2008 Archives

I had some fun getting a bit Rolly liked. As you saw from an earlier blog about "getting the right saddle & bridle" I initially went for a Shires Training Snaffle - a snip at around £30! However, I knew this wasn't going to be a permanent solution as there were problems with it. Firstly, Rolly has very sensitive skin and as often is the case with loose ring bits and sensitive skinned horses, the bit where the loose ring sits in the mouthpiece rubbed the sides of his lips somewhat. So I obviously bought some rubber cheek protectors, but these seemed to cause chafing.

So, for a while I considered eggbutt/D-ring, but preferred the look of a loose ring and the movement it causes in the horses mouth that encourages him to mouth the bit. The solution was to spend around £90 on a Sprenger - I found the new-style Sprenger KK Ultra Type II that you can see here. The reason I - and Rolly - seem to like it is that the design of the cheeks stop the rubbing problems, and they also give slight steering improvements because it is kind of a cross between a loose ring and an eggbutt. Finally, it has the "tranz lozenge" which - according to the research - sits in a kinder fashion on the horse's tongue. The final thing I liked about this bit is that the mouthpiece is slightly thicker than the rather thin mouthpiece of the Shires training bit I had been using previously - so is kinder on the bars of the mouth.

Well, the result is is a bit that Rolly really seems to like - so much so that when I try to take his bridle off, he doesn't seem to want to let go of the bit - the patented "Aurigan" that the Sprenger bits use seem to be preferred to the "German silver" used in the Shires and other "cheaper" bits. Also, the Sprenger Aurigan doesn't corrode/tarnish the way that these other bits seemed to - a quick rinse and it is still shiny! We like that!

So here's a vid of Rolly not wanting to let go of his Sprenger!


Howz about this - I managed to get a vid of my horsey having his teeth rasped by my vet, Matt Waterhouse, of Arundel Equine Hospital.  Horses should have their teeth checked every 6 months, especially with a horse that is young like Rolly (or an equine veteran as well). 

Why do a horse's teeth need rasping?  Well, a horse's teeth grow continuously during its lifetime.  The act of chewing grass and other forage type materials in the way that a horse does: using a kind of lateral sliding, chewing motion in order to break the cellulose-type materials down to ease later digestion; means that the horse's teeth can tend to wear irregularly and end up having sharp edges and pointed bits. 

Obviously since our horses are not in the wild and we want them to be comfortable and live as long as possible, which means being able to eat easily and accept the bit nicely, it makes sense to file these sharp edges down from time-to-time. Otherwise symptoms such as quidding (dropping bits of food out of the side of the mouth) and being unhappy with the bit can result, which will lead to the horse either not doing so well on its feed and/or being difficult to handle.  The worse case scenario is mouth ulcers and perhaps also serious weight loss.

With a youngster, wolf teeth (seen in both mares & geldings, unlike tushes which are usually only seen in geldings) can be a problem.  Wolf teeth are vestigial premolars (as opposed to  canines) and can erupt at any age up to around 3 years of age (they are not baby teeth though).  They are usually on the upper jaw, but they sit where the bit sits in what is called as the interdental space, so of course can themselves cause bitting problems.  So Rolly had his removed about 6 months ago.  Such an operation can be done under sedation and is not difficult because wolf teeth do not have roots like the other teeth - they kind of just sit in the gums. 

So this particular 6 monthly check was to make sure the wolf teeth removal seemed to have gone okay and to check whether Rolly needed his teeth rasping again, which he did, hence the video!

For those that don't know, it may look like Rolly is in pain in the video.  In fact he isn't - horses seem to like the weirdness of the feeling of having their teeth rasped (abd it is a non-painful procedure).  If horses didn't like it they would have to be sedated to have this done, and in fact it is rarely the case that sedation is required. The device with all the metal that is conveniently holding Rolly's mouth open for the vet is called a "Haussmann gag" after the geezer who devised it.    So here's the video:

Thumbnail image for rolly-teethrasp-poster.jpg

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Horse category from December 2008.

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