What is it about?

The rostral part of the mouth (bit area) of 261 horses was examined after a harness race. Moderate and severe oral lesion status was more common in horses wearing a Crescendo bit, a mullen mouth regulator bit or a straight plastic bit than in horses wearing a single‐jointed snaffle trotting bit. However, lesions were observed regardless of bit type. Horses racing with unjointed bits had more bar lesions than horses racing with jointed bits. Mares had higher risk for moderate or severe oral lesion status than geldings. In this study lesion status was not associated with horse breed, galloping during the race or race performance.

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Why is it important?

Horse handlers should note Crescendo, mullen mouth regulator and unjointed plastic bits as lesion risk factors, but it is possible that these bit types are chosen for horses that are unresponsive to light rein signals for various reasons. Oral lesions occurred also regardless of bit type.


Bit area monitoring by horse handlers is a recommandable new routine especially for horses known to be at higher risk.

DVM PhD Kati Tuomola
University of Helsinki

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Risk factors for bit‐related lesions in Finnish trotting horses, Equine Veterinary Journal, January 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/evj.13401.
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