A veterinarian will be needed to treat the decoy.
Quidding is a habit some horses develop due to mouth pain or other health issues. When a horse releases it, it either stores a bolus of food in the corner of its mouth or drops food after a few bites. Sometimes horses will form balls of material while shaking and then spit them out; Packed lumps of hay or spit-covered grain around a stable or manger, for example, are a sure sign that a horse has been choking.
Downing can be accompanied by nervous habits, such as chewing in a tent.
The most common cause of chattering is bad teeth. Horses’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, because historically horses ate a variety of forage that wore down their teeth. Domestic horses often don’t have varied diets, and their diets tend to be low in abrasive minerals, so while their teeth keep growing, they don’t wear out. As a result, teeth can become pointy, sharp, or uneven, making chewing difficult. Horses can also get cavities and gum infections, just like people, and both can cause toothaches that make chewing difficult or unpleasant.
Trepidation is often caused by bad teeth in a horse.
If a horse starts to falter, a visit to the vet should be scheduled immediately. The vet may need to make the horse’s teeth float, which means he will use a power tool, file or file to file the sharp areas of the teeth and even out them again. This should alleviate the horse’s discomfort, resolving the trotting behavior. The vet may also check for signs of infection in the teeth, gums, or jaw that could explain the hesitation.
Horses that have suffered from chronic neglect may keep grinding as a lifelong habit because they are so used to toothaches. Even with careful dental work, previously neglected horses have a hard time letting go of the behavior. Treating can also be accompanied by nervous habits such as licking or chewing in the stall, sometimes indicating that the horse is frustrated. In such cases, you may need to feed your horse a special diet to ensure he receives enough nutrition; a vet can help with this.
In cases where swallowing is a learned behavior rather than a response to a medical problem, sometimes a horse will recover over time. An equine psychologist or behavioral consultant may be able to help with this, but it is still important to ensure that the horse receives supportive nutrition while he or she is treated for weight gain.