If you have ever had a horse with a torn corner of the mouth, you will know that it takes a frustratingly long amount of time to heal fully – literally months and months, and it heals back paper-thin and delicate at first, so the least pressure on it will open it up again.
It’s a problem I’ve only had once in my life but I hope never to have to deal with it again. Months using a hackamore, dreading having to use a bit, being as careful as I possibly could… and then starting again, after the horse took a real hold and I had to take one disastrous pull to regain control.
So I’ve decided that, Prevention being Better than Cure, and because Daisy can sometimes take quite a strong hold (stronger than I would like… but when she’s like that, every time I soften she accelerates, so sometimes I have to settle for it being a bit more of a definite contact than I would ideally want) I will use either Vaseline or Bit Butter every single time I put a bit into her mouth.
It took a few days to become a habit, but now I do it without thinking – the pot of goo is in the grooming kit to hand, and it is the last job before tacking up, a quick smear into the corners of the lips. This way I don’t have to worry when she takes a slightly stronger hold than I’d like. It’s a quick and easy habit to get into and well worth it, I think. The only drawback is that the bit is rather greasy afterwards so I used a towel to get rid of that before cleaning the bit and the bridle.
After being asked about exactly this problem twice at Burghley, I thought I’d share this tip.