Study on Mouth Injuries & Bitting on XC

This is super interesting!

Looks like the Waterford is better than a lot of people believe. And 50% of horses with a straight bar type bit with a port had bar lesions. Yikes. Mares also more likely to get lesions.

Not a big sample size but still great information.


Rider technique would probably be the highest risk factor.


I think this is fascinating. Is there a good resource to learn to evaluate the mouth?

None of these horses are TB. And, in my experience, I have observed more injuries to the tongue that were permanent then I have superficial cracks at the corner of the lip. The study wounds appear to be from poor bit fitting. How can they account for all of the size and fit variables vs horses training/ fitness level???

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Word Police checking in here :policewoman:
Please change “biting” in your title to “bitting”
Every time your thread pops up I laugh & picture horses (riders?) Biting while on course :laughing:

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Dr. Hilary Clayton is good on the subject;’s_mouth


Ha! That’s exactly what I thought this thread was about and I was asking myself like, is this a real problem people have?! and why?!?

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MAybe it’s problem in polo?


Now THAT’S just good defense!!!


Whoops :joy:

That’s a competitive polo pony!


My horse really likes some tongue relief, but this makes me a little nervous since it’s the Mullen/ported bits that seemed to cause more lesions. I use a shires blue alloy Mullen mouth with a slight port, and she’s much quieter in the mouth with it than with a double or single jointed snaffle. Wondering if I should consider another bit? I hope there are more follow up studies.

I wonder why this is?


Honestly I would. That type of bit destroyed my mares mouth to the point where I can’t use any but now without getting rubs. It’s been a long journey, all started with a blue bombers which shredded her mouth on XC.

Seems like the Waterford is the kindest based on this study.

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She doesn’t really lean or pull, she just constantly chomps on her KK Ultra and is quiet in the mouth with the ported mullen. I don’t know if she really needs a waterford, just something that is more comfortable for her mouth conformation than the KK Ultra. She’s just really sensitive and opinionated about all her tack. :confused: I’ll keep looking for something else though.

Honestly, it should not surprise anyone who has watched xc closely. When horses are going fast, turning, checking, running out…unless you go bitless, the reality I think is some degree of legions or rubs. I think riders have to be mindful of it and regularly check mouths and do what they can to minimize. It’s as simple as regularly running your fingers along their cheeks and gums and peering into the corners and tongue.


These types of studies fly in the face of facebook pages like “horrible horsemanship” where the use of a waterford (or a flash for that matter) is considered abuse.

They claim to be experts on the mechanisms of the different types of bits, but alas… the studies show differently.


One thing I’ve learned in this life… everyone on Facebook is an expert.


Should see the bit experts on Twitter :woman_facepalming:t2:

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