So I thought it was about time I did a little update on how Dustry has been getting on with his Atlanta Gumbits, his ‘secret weapon’. I started using these treats back in June 2012 because he had developed a habit of scrunching his bit in time with his movement! As much as this shows he has an obvious musical flair, it doesn’t bode well during a dressage test when this sort of thing will be marked down, and penalised as ‘tension’.
His teeth and mouth are all in tip top order but for some reason (best known to him) he developed this comforting little scrunch, and I had to think of a way to wean him off it. As always my ridiculously-knowledgeable-an-irritatingly-always-right-instructor Amanda Brewer suggested I try some Gumbits.
Gumbits are horse treats with a similar texture to Trebor ‘softmints’ (I know because I’ve eaten both!) and when the horse chews them bits get stuck in and around the teeth dissolving slowly with their saliva. The ‘coating’ action of the treats prevents the sound of the scrunching and also encourages the horse to produce more saliva and therefore have a wetter more accepting mouth. I bought a bag and never looked back. D instantly (and I mean instantly!) stopped scrunching and became much softer and accepting in his mouth, it was a very impressive result, and such a simple solution.
So every time I rode him I gave him approx 10-15 Gumbits before putting on his bridle, having a little pre-work amuse-bouche has now become part of his routine! Occasionally whilst on our 1st bag of Gumbits there were times when I forgot to give him some, and he forgot to scrunch! When I ran out and ordered our 2nd bag I had a few issues with the quantity of treats to feed. This 2nd bag seemed almost too effective and so I have been able to reduce the number given to about 5 each time. These little treats have provided a solution to our issues and allowed D to forget all about his scrunching habit. Now we have got to the stage where I can give him a handful of nuts, some polos, a sugar, or the gumbits before work and he doesn’t scrunch at all!
These are really ingenious little treats to help fussy mouths and best of all I have been able to use them to school D out of his bad habit.
Gumbits can be bought in the UK from Horse Health and cost £39.95 per bag which is pricey but so far I have used 1.5 bags in 7 months, roughly a cost of £8.50 pcm.