ridecamp@endurance.net: Chewing the Bit

Chewing the Bit

Sun, 6 Apr 1997 18:57:43 -0400

When the horse chews the bit, it means that the jaw is relaxed enough that
the horse can move the bit slightly and salivate and that, given the
opportunity, he stretches into the bit. The saliva is seen on the lips and
is sometimes refered to as "foam". This is different than chomping on the
bit and making a noise. There are several points of resistance in the
horse: the jaw, the poll, the withers (and neck) and the back. A horse can
be stiff or resistant in one or more areas for a number of reasons. If the
resistances are severe or multiple, generally this foaminess will not
appear. Horses which are not suppled properly, are contracted or crooked
generally will not chew the bit. Some horses which are supple on one side
and contracted on the other will chew the bit on the supple side (you will
see foam at the corner of the mouth on one side, but not the other. In
dressage terms there is not "throughness"; the horse is not working
symetrically through his whole body.

A horse can chew the bit and still not be round - round mean that the
hindquarters are engaged and the back lifted in collection. That's a
different level of training being supple and straight in horizontal balance.
A horse can also work the back and still not be round. However, when a horse
does chew the bit well, it means that the horse has given up resistances and
is in a position to be pushed into a rounder frame.


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