I had a someone contact me the other day with a question on chewing on the bit:
She was asking why her horse was chewing at the bit and whether she should go from the snaffle to a shank. I explained that I would lean toward the wolf teeth first before I would think about what sort of bit was being used.
Wolf, not to be confused with Canine teeth –
What to do if your horse has wolf teeth
It makes sense to remove these potentially troublesome teeth before you attempt any serious work with your young horse. You don’t want your horse to associate any discomfort or pain in his mouth with being worked. Horses can develop bad habits such chewing on the bit or head shaking, lunging their head and neck down toward the ground and twisting their heads through having long term pain, associating that pain with being ridden, creating anxiety in the horse which can go on for years before it is diagnosed as never having their wolf teeth extracted. These bad habits and anxiety can take a long time to retrain those bad habits out of the horses mind. Wolf teeth are on the bars of the mouth and where the bit may settle. For this reason alone, they may need to be removed.
Wolf teeth can cause a young horse to fight the bit or even the pressure of a hackamore. Any pressure on the horse’s cheeks is capable of rubbing on these teeth. Wolf teeth tend to be pointed, so they can cause some discomfort.
Wolf teeth show up right in front of the second premolars. An individual horse may have none, one, two, or four wolf teeth. Generally, a horse with wolf teeth will have just two – both located on the upper jaw. Wolf teeth
Rarely, wolf teeth may show up as late as two to three years of age, but most yearlings obviously either have them or not. A few horses never have a problem with their wolf teeth, but many horses do. Since wolf teeth do not serve any good purpose, removing them makes good sense. , these “blind” teeth are actually worse than the erupted wolf teeth. They can be Wolf teeth are small, peg-like teeth, which sit just in front of the first cheek teeth. Most times in my 30 odd years of training they would hide just under the surface and annoy the horse when bitted up. I would always get my dentist in before my young horses were brought in to be broken in. I would only mouth them approximately 6 months into their training, not until they had a fair idea of how to carry a rider on their backs and most of the leg and hand cues then I would think about mouthing them.e at an earlier age than canines .
With the wolf teeth removed it is also easier to put in a proper bit seat.
If you have an adult horse who consistently fights the bit or acts uncomfortable, it is worth having your equine dentist do a thorough exam.
Have your horses teeth examined at least once a year.
No wolf tooth does any good and may do harm, so extract them all.
Certainly, if your horse is performing well, has no problems, and a wolf tooth finding is just an incidental, you may not want to put him through the procedure to remove the teeth. Their presence should be noted though, and if problems do show up, such as head tossing, avoiding the bit, etc, wolf teeth removal should be considered.
In my experience, 9 times out of 10, having these little booger’s removed was the answer to having a safe, happy, willing horse.
Good example how a horses mouth can be overlooked, just imagine!
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