What is it about?

We examined 208 eventing horses after the last competition phase e.g. the cross-country test. 22% of the had mild, 26% moderate and 4% severe oral lesion status in the bit area. Horses wearing thin or thick bits had higher risk of moderate or severe oral lesion status. Mares, warmbloods and coldbloods had higher risk than geldings and ponies.

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Why is it important?

It is commonly tought that a good performance might be an evidence of good welfare. However in this study and our previous study on trotters we did not find an evidence of association between performance and oral lesion status. Therefore, well performing horses are not necessarily free from welfare concerns.


We encourage adopting bit area monitoring as a new routine by horse handlers and as a welfare measure by competition organizers for randomly drawn horses since oral lesions in the bit area were common after a competition even though no external bleeding was observed.

DVM PhD Kati Tuomola
University of Helsinki

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Bit-Related Lesions in Event Horses After a Cross-Country Test, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, March 2021, Frontiers,
DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2021.651160.
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