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Horse with a Sore Mouth ?

Gail Johnson - Tuesday, January 30, 2018
One of the queries I am asked regularly on the advice line is how to care for rubbed or sore lips. The sore parts can result from a variety of reasons: some owners report that their horses are very sensitive and the mouth will split regardless of bit design or what it is made from, others get sore for more obvious reasons, for example, when the rider has had to hold on too much round a cross country course. Sores can appear at the corners of the lips, inside of the lips, outside the face above the lip corner and even quite high inside the cheeks (often as a result of lips being squeezed into the teeth). Most of the time with discussion and further investigation, a logical reason can be found as the cause. This can range from an incorrectly fitted bit and/or bridle through to the horse being overdue for the dentist. Often we find that the horse is in a bit that is slightly too large, and the rider has therefore sat the bit too high in the mouth – this means that the lips corners are already “in contact” before the reins have even been taken up. When the rider then takes hold of the reins, something has to give and unfortunately it is often the corner of the lip resulting in splits. Care must be taken to ensure the sores/splits have plenty of time to heal – even they appear visually to have healed I would always advise to wait a few more weeks before using the mouth again to ensure the full healing process has taken place.
If the horse must be ridden during this time, sometimes it can be appropriate to use a hackamore or a bitless bridle and I would always suggest that advice is sought as to the most suitable design. Although this type of equipment does not use the mouth, it works on a variety of pressure points including the nose and, as with all new tack, will need to be introduced slowly and methodically in a safe environment. As with most things, prevention is better than cure so next time you bridle up, have a good look at how your bit is fitting and check if any adjustments need to be made.


Bye 2017 - what have you got 2018?

Gail Johnson - Monday, January 01, 2018
Well we started 2017 with a check ligament injury on HBH Woody (thankfully fully recovered and able to be back in work....if only his rider  had time (!)), we went on to have a Tibial Plateau fracture (me - oops), now fully recovered, and we have ended the year with HBH Daisy coming down with winter / stress Laminitis (not good !). Fingers crossed we are turning a corner with her recovery but it has been a very stressful worrying few weeks of watching her struggle whilst we are trying to help her which has been heartbreaking.

I do so hate to focus on negative things so we are trying to stay as positive as possible but I really hope that 2018 is kind to us here at HBH HQ, we need a break - and not of the bone variety please. :-)

Happy 2018 everyone, here is to happy and healthy horses and owners.