I was thrilled to see GumBits in the December 2015 A Horse Box and couldn’t wait to try them. Turns out someone else at my barn wanted them too, and my sample disappeared one day out of my grooming tote! I can only assume some kid got hungry…I really don’t know. The folks at A Horse Box were nice enough to send me more samples to try out on Champ, so here’s our review on GumBits!
First thing I did was put one of these in my mouth. I figured I needed to see what exactly I was feeding Champ, and the best way to do that was to eat a couple. The little candy balls were hard on the outside (harder than I expected) and waxy on the inside. They are slightly sweet and minty. Not bad! The waxy insides stuck to my teeth a bit and I chewed around a bit trying to get it off my teeth. It took a while, but it finally wore off.
Oh wait…isn’t that exactly what it’s supposed to do? Increase chewing and salivation and help to develop a softer mouth? Ah ha!
I had a little trouble trying to feed these to Champ. The first time I did it with a bit in, and he let them fall all over the ground while he chewed on just a few of them…and then freaked out trying to grab the tiny balls out of the arena footing. I had to pick them up one by one and feed them to him so that he wasn’t so desperate to find the yummy little treats. I found I had to cover his mouth with my hand to catch the falling balls with the bit in.
I had better luck feeding him these right before I bridled. I still found he had trouble holding onto the GumBits, so I just started giving him them in a bucket. He is a bit of a messy eater and drops his grain all over the place (sometimes throws it) and then forages for it later, so it makes sense that he has issues eating these.
He does love them and gets incredibly excited when he hears the bag crinkle, but he still can’t quite figure out how to hold on to them while chewing. You can hear the hard crack of the shell when he chews here and see him turn his nose towards me looking for more.
I didn’t notice much of an increase in saliva (he doesn’t have a problem with that) and Champ’s not a grinder, so those benefits were lost on us. However, most of the time Champ is still in the bridle and doesn’t chew much. These did vastly increase his chewing and playing with the bit, which was very helpful in our arena work.
I used GumBits for several dressage lessons and there was a noticeable difference in the contact when I used them. The lessons I used them in went really well and I got “Two Gold Stars” from the instructor. The lessons I didn’t use them were a bit of a struggle. It might be coincidence…but I’m thinking it isn’t!
I was very pleased with the results of GumBits and would certainly use them again! The only downside is that they’re a bit pricey!
You can find out more about GumBits here and buy them at several online and local retailers.