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Frothy Mouth
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Patchwork Pony
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 Posted: Tue May 9th, 2017 07:35 pm
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I was doing a search on 'raising the life' and came to the posting 'Buffalo Skeleton' and read about the longus colli function in raising the neck so I checked it in an anatomy book. An additional comment made there was that 'long muscles connect the sternum to the bone at the base of the tongue. When the horses head is "tied in", he is virtually unable to swallow.'
My question is, when you see dressage horses slobbering heavily is it an indicator that their necks have been tied in or is it actually a positive reaction to the bit, as some are claiming or can it be either or?

Patchwork Pony
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 Posted: Wed May 10th, 2017 02:10 am
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Oh my goodness! Just when I thought I had heard every dirty deception. Unbelievable. My dad and his family were top farriers in the Toronto show circuit. He wouldn't allow me to get involved in showing because he said he had seen too much. I bet he had.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 06:06 pm
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I believe I've read Dr. Deb refer to appropriate salivation as no more than a "light lipstick", i.e. that excessive amounts of salivation and thus "foam" mean the horse is either A) too active with the bit suggesting he is not 100% OK, or B) that, as it has been trendy to do in competitive dressage for many years, the horse has been given something like sugar cubes, egg whites, or some other ridiculous ploy to increase the foam because that's what en vogue.

If you're not just seeing foam but actual strings of saliva, then that would certainly be an indication that the horse isn't/cannot swallow properly.

Patchwork Pony
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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 07:58 pm
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That makes sense. That is also, a great image to keep in mind as a standard. I don't follow modern dressage and have known there is a great difference between it and classical riding so when I see the images of horses drooling and slobbering I just can't believe that it is right. So now I have confirmation that it isn't. Thank you.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 07:46 pm
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Patch -- In whose anatomy book did you read the business about cramps in the long muscles of the neck making it difficult for the horse to swallow? I'm very interested in knowing which veterinary anatomist had the insight to know that -- was it Peter Goody?

There are several reasons why you might see competititon horses with lots of foam about the mouth or flecks or chunks of foam dribbling out of the mouth and sometimes flying back and sticking to the breast, neck, or shoulders. The first is that the competitor, before tying on the crank noseband, has placed a couple of chips of Ivory soap in the horse's mouth. Another way to guarantee lots of foam is to inject a drench of water and sand into the horse's mouth before tying it firmly shut. This is also why these competitors will insist that the mouth has to be tied firmly shut.

Of course, the reason why competitors feel that they need to do these things is that somebody whose horse foamed 'all by itself' without soap or sand, won a previous class. The incompetent are often ambitious. There are many people at horse shows who do not know how to train a horse, but that does not mean they won't do just about anything to win a prize: the prize is the main thing, if not the one and only thing, that they are there to get.

The old word for this behavior is 'idol worship', and it infects every form of horse showing that there is. Not just around foam, of course. In another division it will be about high tail carriage, for which nicking and/or tail braces are used to guarantee that an ersatz of the 'rainbow tail' will be visible. Or, it will be slow, soft movement with a low head carriage, for which years of rapping the horse in the mouth, along with other training techniques, will have been used: it produces an ersatz of collection which is called 'western pleasure' and whose successful practitioners can earn millions of dollars by the approbation of judges and spectators who know no better. Or, in another division, it will be weighted shoes, or the use of chains and soring, to produce the extravagant 'action' of the forelimbs which is another feature characteristic of the truly collected horse. All ersatzes are cruel, and all of them stem from ignorance -- from the fact that the person who engages in rollkur, for just one more example, does not know how to train a horse, does not know what collection is or the horse's natural mechanism for producing it -- AND has passed beyond the point in their own thinking where they even believe that there is such a thing as 'true' collection. To many show people, whatever the accepted standard is in their division is acceptable, because to them, ALL standards are artificial and manmade. It is therefore very difficult for such folks to understand our objections to their doings.

But yes: a horse that foams 'all by itself' does so because it isn't swallowing its spit. And the horse that shows stiff foam -- when that isn't 'enhanced' chemically by soap -- has stiff foam for the same reasons, even the exact same chemical reasons, that whipping cream stiffens: something is 'beating' the spit, that is, mixing it with oxygen. That thing is, of course, the tongue; this is why an injection of sand produces stiff foam -- the horse continually works its tongue, inside the mouth which has been tied shut, to whip the spit into stiff foam.

A normal horse, ridden without having its mouth tied shut, may foam also, because the rider does not understand how to raise the base of the neck and therefore the horse is in some way compressing its pharynx and the base of the tongue while ridden, and thus can't swallow very well or at all. It may also foam because of malocclusions of the teeth, a mis-fitting bit, bad hands on the part of the rider, a wound in the mouth, or other causes unrelated to horse showing or ambitiousness; and of course the real horseman or horsewoman will investigate all these causes. A thin film of foam is generally OK, as somebody mentioned, that looks like a bit of white lipstick, and probably doesn't indicate any kind of problem. -- Dr. Deb

Patchwork Pony
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 Posted: Mon May 15th, 2017 01:52 am
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Thank you for this information.
I have used Smythe and Goody but the source that stated about inability to swallow is Dr. Sara Wyche, 'The Anatomy of Riding', Crowood Press; Ramsbury, Wiltshire UK.


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