This past week we had Tammy Levasseur, Lantra certified bit fitter, come to the barn and check several horses for their bits. I had her do Biasini and found that there were some things I knew about his mouth and one important thing that was new to me.
Tammy does a very thorough examination of the horse’s mouth. She measures the width and using a plastic covered ball of plasticine she is able to measure the height of the palate. She also palpates the jaw, the horse’s poll ( top of the head) and checks for any reactive points. She also made an interesting discovery about the left bar of Biasini’s mouth. The bar in the horse’s mouth is the gap, at the bottom of the mouth, between the front incisor teeth and the molars at the back.
This space is where the bit sits. Tammy found that Biasini has a bone spur on his left bar. Tammy looked at the snaffle bit I am using and suggested a better one for his particular shape of mouth and the spur on his bar.
She also looked at the double bridle that has two bits; a snaffle type jointed bit and a curb bit which can be straight or have a raised port. The curb bit Biasini has is good for horses with a low palate as it has only a slight curve and no port. Tammy had discovered his low palate when she had examined him.
Tammy would ask the horse’s riders to get on and ride with any different bit she suggested. When I tried the snaffle bit Tammy recommended I felt an immediate difference. Tammy explained that this was due to the snaffle not dropping down to rub against the spur on Biasini’s bar. This is due to the shape and construction of the bit being different than the one I had been using.
Since the snaffle bit worked better we decided to change the bridoon ( the jointed snaffle type bit of the double bridle) to one similar to the snaffle. I will be riding with this combination in the coming week.
Why should an horse owner get a certified bit fitter to check their horse? Because this sort of exam is not something an amateur can do. We might be able to measure the width of the horse’s mouth but that is all. I cannot tell anything about the horse’s palate height and I certainly cannot make recommendations about what particular bits would help the horse with whatever problems they might have in their mouth. We all want our horses to be as comfortable as possible in their mouths and this sort of exam and recommendations about bits can go a long way toward that . Tammy always sends the owners a detailed report of her findings, measurements and recommendations
Today, June 6 , the equine dentist did Biasini’s teeth. He told me he had noted the spur on his left bar but as it was not causing Biasini problems he would not recommend surgery to remove it. He also said there are problems with the spur growing back and causing more problems. He was interested that Tammy had recommended a different snaffle bit and bridoon for the double. He said that if they helped to keep the bits a bit higher they would be clear of the spur.
We all agreed that since Biasini has successfully competed at the Level of Prix St.George and Intermediare 1 then the bone spur is not causing him too much grief! I also mentioned that on the advice of a previous equine dentist, I always syringe 6cc of glycerine into Biasini’s mouth, on both sides, once he has his bridle on.
If you would like more information about Tammy here is a link to her On The Bit website. https://onthebittack.com/