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Bit seating and canine teeth
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Bryy
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 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2017 02:05 am
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I've reached the point with my gelding where I can mess around with his mouth and lips without him pulling away which has allowed me to look more closely at where the bit lies in relation to his teeth. He has significant upper canines that lie just above the corners of his lips which is where I would prefer to put the bit after listening to Buck, "why put two wrinkles in the corners of the horse's mouth, that's meaningless pressure."

I'm starting to think about the double bridle but in order to fit both bits I would have to bring the bradoon so high! I suppose there's no other solution but I'm looking for advice.

Best,
Julie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2017 06:27 am
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You will certainly NOT under any circumstances be considering removing the canine teeth. They are large and deeply-rooted and extraction should never be considered unless the teeth themselves are seriously diseased.

You may be confusing canine teeth with wolf teeth. The term "wolf tooth" is some kind of corruption of an old Germanic or Anglo-Saxon term; it has nothing to do with the English word "wolf", and in particular, nothing to do with the fact that wolves have large canine teeth.

The canine teeth of horses, both superior and inferior, sit in the bars at a little distance behind the incisor teeth. The wolf teeth are entirely different teeth. They are the vestigial, usually small or even tiny, remnants of an ancestral first premolar tooth. They sit immediately adjacent to the large second premolar teeth, which are functionally the "first" teeth in the cheek tooth row.

Wolf teeth are frequently removed and the operation is generally minor and relatively painless, because the wolf teeth are usually quite small and shallow-rooted. The reason for removing them is that backwards pressure on the bit, especially the snaffle, may bring the mouthpiece so far up the bars that it impinges the anteriormost teeth in the cheek tooth rows. This may cause "nervy" pains to a horse, or it may simply be irritating to him.

So you can remove wolf teeth; you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT remove the canine teeth. If this explanation still finds you confused, I advise you purchase "Conformation: Basic Skills" (directions on how to do that are in one of the threads above this one on the front page of the Forum). In it, you will find a very thorough discussion of the equine dentition, accompanied by large and clear drawings which show the positions, size, and shape of all the different sorts of teeth that a horse has. -- Dr. Deb

Bryy
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 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2017 03:38 pm
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I checked my conformation book to make sure I had the correct name before posting; they are large canine teeth and I would never consider removing them. Their location is what I have to work around, however, and the upper teeth are positioned about 2" back from the rear most incisor making bit placement higher in the mouth relative to the corners of the lips than I would like.

Suppose there's no way around it but to hang the bradoon that high?

Aloha
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 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2017 08:59 pm
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Have you (gently) put a bridle with bradoon on him and checked where the bit lies? Played with the adjustment?

What Buck says about meaningless pressure might just be that in a double bridle as used by dressage competitors. In order to have the bradoon high enough so the curb can hang below it, you might need a wrinkle. With one of my horses if I have no wrinkle, then the curb hangs too low.

Unless you are meaning a snaffle and a bosal. But you said bradoon, so I am thinking thin snaffle (bradoon) and a Weymouth (curb).

Bryy
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 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2017 12:17 am
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Correct; talking the dressage double bridle here.

I did put the bridle on today and I'm guessing there's no other option than to bring the bits up to clear the teeth. He's worn this before but not since I've owned him, just seems so like it will force them to be obnoxiously high in his mouth and I didn't want to go there.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2017 02:41 am
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Bryy, "taking the slack out of the lips" is a fault practiced by people whose normal riding habit is to take the slack out of the lips.

You're not going to do that in any case. If the horse goes on a draping rein, having one or even two wrinkles in the lips will make no difference at all, either functionally or to the horse's level of comfort, because you're not going to be trying to operate him "back" from there. You will, I assume, be operating him from mere touches.

You have a double bridle in there not to "make up for" anything, and not to "bring the horse to a higher level". If the horse is not already capable of the highest level in the snaffle alone, or even in a sidepull alone, then he is not ready for a double bridle.

The reason you have a double bridle is that it serves as a constant, subtle reminder to the horse to keep the base of his neck raised. It also allows you four lines of communication, which can get to be very subtle and a great deal of fun. But the double bridle is NOT to be used to further tuck the head, because tucking the head is not part of collection. What we want instead is to get the horse to so use his neck that his neck pushes his poll forward, or up and forward, away from his chest, without his nose moving either backward or forward. And all this, ideally, on a draping rein. -- Dr. Deb

Aloha
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 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2017 05:54 pm
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Love Love LOVE that last note from Dr. Deb. Another one for every arena wall.
Thank you for that Dr. Deb. Really made my day. Truly.

One other thing I thought of. The bits came with the horse? Some curb bits are really clunky. There are others that are quite thin. Don't know what yours is like but you might try less metal in his mouth and it might give you a smidge more adjustment. But if this bit fits him well and he likes it, then perhaps all is well.

Bryy
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 Posted: Fri Aug 11th, 2017 12:22 am
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Dr. Deb- Thank you for the clarification about taking the slack out. This horse has taught me how important it is to not ride with backwards contact because it curls him right up and I've spent months allowing him to open and teaching myself to feel, not hold. Looking forward to the next lesson he has to teach me!

Aloha- He doesn't hold the curb centered in his mouth, one side is always extended beyond his lips so I think I will look into a thinner, narrower one, thank you for the suggestion.

Aloha
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 Posted: Sat Aug 12th, 2017 10:45 pm
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Hi again!

Is your bridle even on both sides? Maybe one cheek piece is slightly longer than the other. Stretched a little? Not sure if that would cause this.

AND, another thing I thought of, is that there is a new gizmo out. It's a different kind of curb chain. Your standard curb chain is a 6" or so long chain. You hook it on one side, then twist the whole thing under the chin and hook it to the other side. Some people claim that this causes the bit to sit crooked in the mouth because the chain, being twisted in one direction only, pulls the bit slightly off center. The new gizmo has a large weird link in the center that allows you to twist each side of the chain independently of the other which supposedly fixes this problem. Personally I did not like it. The big link in the middle is just that. TOO BIG. I insisted on a regular flat simple chain.

Besides, really. Do most people have such a sensitive feel on their horse's mouth that they would even notice? My feeling is that it's just another gizmo.

Last edited on Sat Aug 12th, 2017 10:48 pm by Aloha

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Aug 13th, 2017 04:55 am
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Aloha, the critical thing with a curb chain is not the chain itself, but the hooks. Most leverage bits come with hooks way too short. Hooks with longer shanks allow the curb chain to sit farther back, which is where the 'dent' in a horse's chin is in most horses relative to the height of the butts of the bit/commissures of the lips.

This was pointed out to me by a very knowledgeable and experienced Paso Fino man, who used to say, "when you use a curb bit or Weymouth (i.e. any type of leverage bit other than a Morisco or Spade), you are talking primarily to the lower jaw, not to the tongue." It is impossible to talk cogently to the lower jaw if the curb chain does not lie in the correct place, and if you look about you, you will see that most of them don't. -- Dr. Deb


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