When I reported on Riley's "behavior du jour" -- grinding his teeth -- dressagemom of dressagemom.com contacted me and recommended that I try Gumbits. She had seen the product used successfully, and she tried a few herself. She described them as tasty and waxy-feeling. There is an article about Gumbits on HorsesDaily.com, and an article in Horse Journal gives them a thumbs up.When I searched the usual online forums there were quite a few success stories. Not one poster said "they didn't have any effect."
Taking a test drive
In the spirit of consumer research, I ordered a bag from Paddock Saddlery for $39 (I know, I know, a lot of dough). I started giving Riley a couple of the teensy balls at the beginning of every ride. The Gumbits start working at about the time you finish your ten minute warmup, and it lasts about 45 minutes. The first few rides he got a very foamy mouth, but he didn't stop grinding immediately. However, over the course of a week the grinding has subsided. I had a lesson this morning and he was pretty quiet in the mouth.
To be honest I'm not sure if he is just acclimating to the weather and the indoor ring, or if the gumbits have worked. From what I hear it takes about a month to achieve the full effect. Even if the Gumbits didn't fix the problem, it's worth the price to have a foamy mouth at horse shows, don't you think?
Anyway, I'd buy them again and I probably will. The Horsesdaily.com article says you can give up to a handful, which I'll probably try if he is grinding a lot one day. For now, I use them in onesy-twosies and enjoy the effect it has. I'd recommend Gumbits for these uses:
Teeth grinders, for sure. There are lots of success stories on COTH and elsewhere, and Riley might be one. Time will tell.
Horse shows, for sure. The Gumbits start working at about the time you finish your ten minute warmup, and it lasts about 45 minutes. Gifts. While not everyone wants to shell out the $$ for that foamy, soft mouth, I bet they'd all appreciate receiving a gift bag!
A word about ulcers
I bet some of you are getting ready to comment that I could be masking a problem, like ulcers. I suppose this is possible, but just FYI I've gone down that diagnostic road before. When Riley started cribbing as a yearling, I had him scoped at New Bolton, and his gut was fairly clean, showing only one small healed ulcer. The vet said to me "I could tell by looking at him he is not a candidate for ulcers." I did a course of Gastroguard anyway, to no visible effect. Ch-Ch-ching.
My current plan is to wait and see if it subsides on its own. If the grinding continues, I probably will try U7 or Seabuckthorn or somesuch. But he is eating heartily, in good condition, and comfortable in his stall. He's getting free choice hay, more or less, and almost no grain.