Small sores on inside corners of mouth

The vet was out for an annual float and noted there are small sores on the inside corners of his mouth (otherwise no other issues, a normal amount of wear & normal conformation). He looked at the bridle on him and said it fit fine. the sores aren’t right on the corners but maybe 1-2 cm back and less than a dime size. the bridle is a ps of sweden paladin and a neue schule verbindend loose ring bit. the noseband is not tight. the vet’s only suggestion was try a mullen mouth. i’ve tried a nathe and it was ok (i also worry about brakes hunting in it) and a shires blue alloy mullen mouth (big no!). any suggestions?

Do you have a picture of your horse wearing his bridle? I can’t think of many potential problems in that area given that bit and bridle combo alone, but perhaps something isn’t quite working with his particular conformation.

Double check the width of your bit. Obviously too narrow can cause issues, but so can too wide. I’d also consider trying your same bit in an eggbutt or dee instead of the loose ring. While it certainly doesn’t sound like classic loose ring pinching or rubs, it is a high movement ring… maybe something about that movement is trouble.

Very anecdotally, I had someone tell me they saw excellent healing of their gelding’s stubborn mouth sores (just inside the corners) after laser treatment. Just one person’t story, but surface wounds are thought to respond well to photomandibulation therapy. Not saying you need to run out and buy a laser for his mouth :wink: but if you have easy access to someone with a laser or red light, it might be worth a try.

I agree with trying the same mouthpiece in an eggbut and checking the size of the bit. My other thought is that the verbindend has a mouthpiece that is angled a bit differently from most double-jointed bits - perhaps that just doesn’t work for his mouth shape? You could try a different double-jointed mouthpiece.

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It might not be the bit at all, but the fit of the bridle. A half-hole up or down can make a huge difference in how the bit contacts the mouth. I wish all cheek pieces on all bridles were capable of very fine adjustments, but often they’re not.


Eggbut (loosering) solved a similar problem for DH’s very fleshy-lipped horse.

Loose rings are notorious for pinching. Many are fitted like you’d fit a non-loose ring, which is a bit too small. Either go a size up, or use a bit guard, or decide that a LR isn’t right for your horse’s mouth conformation. Some fat-lipped horses really just can’t do that.

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here’s pics of the bridle on

i also thought it might be up to high so i tried moving it down 1 hole

I have sadly a lot of experience with this with a horse who has very sensitive lips. Your bit is too small. A horse who pinches you should take out of a loose ring permanently. I found bit butter helps. You need to give the area at least 7-10 days off to rest and heal, if you don’t you will end up with scar tissue and then it will rub or pinch again even easier.

I recommend NS bits. Mullen mouths have shown in recent studies to be more prone to cause pinching so I wouldn’t go that route.

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I think the bit is adjusted fine (in the first pics) but agree with the fact it’s too narrow of a mouthpiece. And it’s definitely worth swtitching to a fixed cheek (eggbutt, dee, or full cheek)

@Jealoushe do you have links to the mullen mouth research? Sounds interesting.

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It’s definitely too narrow, regardless of adjustment high/low. That’s the thing with most loose rings. Some are better designed to the “right” size puts the pinching hole farther out, and/or that hole is better-designed in the first place.

There’s nothing wrong with a loose ring, some horses absolutely love them. But this particular one needs to be probably 1/2" bigger (which puts only 1/4" extra on each side"

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And the fit of this one won’t be fixed with a bit guard, it’s not big enough. The bit guards are for when it’s sized properly, but between the lip conformation and the location/size of the hole, it still tends to pinch.

To help speed up healing use pure lanolin. You can find it in the baby aisle since moms use it for cracked nipples when nursing. It’s completely safe for your horse. After the cracks are healed I would use bit butter every time you ride.

I agree with some of the others saying the bit is too narrow. Sometimes the loose rings can catch skin when they fit like yours.

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Surprisingly my guy has the same type of issues, his is with any metal that isn’t stainless steel. Almost like a small allergy to different bit alloys, including NS ones. So we stick with the cheap bits, even in his double bridle.