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Horse Racing/horse grabbing the bit at trot or walk


QUESTION: hello ma'am. can horses tend to grab the bit even at walk or trot gait?

Equine Mouth
Equine Mouth  
ANSWER: Hello,

There are many reasons a horse may grab the bit at any gait, but the short answer to your question is yes, a horse may grab the bit at a walk or trot.  If your horse is mouthing the bit excessively at any gait, there may be an issue with its teeth.  A common problem with 2 and 3 year olds might a retained cap and / or wolf teeth that need to be removed. Hooks, sharp ridges and bone issues are usually seen in older horses.  If you are not familiar with the condition of your horse's mouth (this is a commonly overlooked area of equine management) be sure to have a competent equine dentist or veterinarian check the condition of its teeth.

I have included a picture that illustrates the horse's  mouth for your reference.

Kind regards,

Maureen Millen

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QUESTION: Thanks for the answer ma'am. I believe that a wolf tooth or blind wolf tooth growth can lead to grabbing the bit in horses. am i right? if suppose a 2 year old arrives to the stable, should they go for wolf tooth removal before bitted? our trainers introduce the bit right from the day they arrive to our place.

Usually a horse will throw it's head if the wolf teeth are an issue but you are right they can cause a horse to either grab or mouth the bit.  

The wolf teeth should be removed on all horses as they serve no useful purpose yet commonly cause problems.

Thank you,
Maureen Millen

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Maureen Millen


Horse Training, Vet and Medical (layperson level), horse care, racehorse training and conditioning. Holistic Health.


30 years in equine industry, author of The Racehorse Trainers Test (, national award-winning TV producer, equine video producer. I have owned, shown 2 World Champions and a reserve World Champion, had many regional and state champions. Past experience includes: Certified Equine Appraiser, a Bloodstock Agent, Licensed Racehorse Trainer, stud farm manager, training farm manager, equine and canine rescue founder, retail upper management.

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