Why do you need a bit fitter?

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.

Image from Texas Equine Dentistry

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.

Biasini has got his saddle on ready for me to ride him in the bit Tammy has suggested for 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/

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Firn says:

    Biasini is a lucky guy! I’m so interested in the glycerine you use. Is this to keep his mouth from getting too dry? Do you find it helps for the flaky skin they can sometimes get on the corners of the mouth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      An equine dentist who did Biasini’s teeth some yreas ago recommended 6-7 cc of Glycerine syringed into his mouth once the bit is in This just helps to allow the bit to move easily in his mouth. I always also use a bit balm or bit butter on his lips before put the bit in . This helps to keep his lips from getting too dried out.

      Like

  2. J.W.S. says:

    An example of clear craft expertise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes and Tammy did her training in England and got her qualifications there and that is not an easy thing to do

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a fascinating discovery about the bone spur. Who would have thought! Makes me wonder how many horses experience bit discomfort due to these types of anitomical issues that aren’t really obvious. Biasini is fortunate to have such care. Thanks for sharing this interesting information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome. It was very

      Like

    2. anne leueen says:

      Oops… sent too soon. It was very interesting to see Tammy at work and to have available some different bits to try.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. myrosagirl says:

    That was a very interesting read 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Glad you found it interesting. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. myrosagirl says:

        My horse didn’t seem to like the bit that came on the bridle I got with him from the lady I bought him from. I have changed to a hackamore and he seems to like it but still makes a funny face when we put it on like he still thinks there is a bit in his mouth.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. anne leueen says:

          Haha! maybe he is still expecting a bit. I had to ride my horse in a hackamore when he got a nasty insect bite on the side of his mouth. He was ok with it but it is not possible to do the lateral work in dressage with it. But good for you to find a solution to a horse that does not like a bit.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. myrosagirl says:

            Thank you! I am only 6 months in on owning my own horse instead of riding other peoples horses when I was young lol so it’s a lot of asking question from people I trust 🙂 I love watching dressage and know many people that do that with there horses 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            Well, all the best for your way ahead with your own horse. Congrats 🌷

            Liked by 1 person

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