PDA

View Full Version : Sticking his tongue out



TJHunter049
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:03 PM
Hey guys! Question..

My horse, TJ, is a cute hunter, but he is constantly sticking his tongue out the side of his mouth when I'm riding him. I've tried a variety of different bits on him, but he does it no matter what I do. I've also tried a flash (obviously just to school him in), and that doesn't work. Has anybody had horses like this before.. and any suggestions? Thanks!

mrsbradbury
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:35 PM
Some horses just do it. It is something you should learn to live with. Hasn't your trainer made any suggestions?

I have heard of people tying the tongue in? Which is not something I would do.

As far as showing goes, it's a tie breaker. Some judges hate it, for me it doesn't bother so much depending on the division and how well the horse is doing his job. There's a whole thread on this from a month or two ago that you might be interested in reading.

SkipChange
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:45 PM
My friend has a horse who always has his tongue out, he will keep it in for the most part with a thinner bit. I don't know other than keep trying other bits--have his teeth checked too.

I saw a trainer use thin WIRE to make a flash for a short stirrup horse at a show, they schooled and warmed up at the show in it. They didn't actually show in it but it was horrifying. Poor horse.

Go Fish
Aug. 2, 2009, 08:53 PM
I've been told by some judges that they consider it an evasion of the bit and will deduct points.

HJPony
Aug. 2, 2009, 09:01 PM
Although sometimes cute and comical..this is considered a vice in my book. I too would think of this as an evasive matter. I would not go to the extent of tieing the tongue or any other ridiculous "fix" however.
I personally have had no experience with this issue but would think that riding in a flash at home would possibly wean him away from this habit.

TJHunter049
Aug. 2, 2009, 09:03 PM
We were thinking about giving him a mint before he goes in the class? I could try that.. but I don't know how long it would last.

Jersey Fresh
Aug. 2, 2009, 09:59 PM
Although sometimes cute and comical..this is considered a vice in my book. I too would think of this as an evasive matter. I would not go to the extent of tieing the tongue or any other ridiculous "fix" however.
I personally have had no experience with this issue but would think that riding in a flash at home would possibly wean him away from this habit.

I disagree with it ALWAYS being an evasive matter. I mean really, if a horse is going around mouth closed, ears forward with a happy jr/ammie friendly expression on his face, how is it even remotely evasive? Especially if they do it when the don't have a bit in their mouth. Maybe some just do it-just like some riders go around with their tongue out over the jumps.

TJ-My horse does the same thing. He's a baby so he doesnt know enough about the bit to be evasive. He's done it since day 1-all the time, its just part of him. We've tried a few different bits and one that seems to work ok (but he doesnt keep it in all of the time) is a key bit. He plays with it and will move his tongue in and out. I refuse to tie his tongue or anything because I think he will just get upset and thats not fair. I won't argue you are going to have some judges that will care and some that won't. Try a mint, I've heard you can do PB or something on the bit too but I would think that would make them more inclined to open their mouth.

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:04 PM
I tried out a horse that did this, after the H/J people passed on him (I am a dressage rider.) What they did that worked was they used a ball bit (I think they are called Waterfords) and tied a peppermint tea bag to it. Not legal for dressage though!

TJHunter049
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:07 PM
Jersey - he plays with his tongue a lot actually! Not just when I am riding. :lol:

TheHorse - we actually have a waterford in his mouth now.. but no luck lol... I am thinking the mint thing might help?

Not a BNR
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:18 PM
Sorry it really will cost you at almost all rated shows in any hunter classes.

There are many things you can try. PB on the roof of the mouth right before you go in the class, Waterford bits but the thing we have found to be the most effective with " our very cute tongue lolling hunter" is a tongue depressor bit.

They make the rubber attachment that you can actually put on any snaffle bit ( although it took 3 BNR's to figure out how to put it on a year ago. But they actually make a rubber pelham with the depressor already made into it. It looks kind of like a wide rubber spoon facing to the back of the mouth of the horse. Works great with our guy. Equisport in California ( Brad ) carries the bit, most tack stores can order the attachment.

Good Luck

TPF
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:21 PM
We had a horse that did this - consistently out to one side of his mouth. If you go to any tack store you can buy a rubber "toungue" thing - it is probably 3-4" long and 1" wide and attaches to the bit (hooks over it). I guess in theory it pushes down on the toungue so they can't get their tongue over the bit or something. We put it around a thin D-Ring Snaffle on the side where he normally stuck the tongue out and it would keep his tongue in his mouth. We only used it at the shows - not sure if it would be legal in dressage or anything but we used it on a hunter and it worked great - and it only costs a dollar or two - worth a try!
We tried the peppermint thing with ours - it sometimes worked for 1/2 the course but then out it came again!
Good luck

chukkerchild
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:29 PM
My horse does this! He even does it on his own, hangin' in his stall and outside in the pasture. Nothing we've tried fixes it, its not a bit evasion though, doesn't seem to have any impact there. So I just deal haha

TPF
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:32 PM
I must be getting old - tongue depressor was what I was trying to say! It is hard to get on - but the tack store people helped us! Good luck.

HJPony
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:12 PM
I disagree with it ALWAYS being an evasive matter. I mean really, if a horse is going around mouth closed, ears forward with a happy jr/ammie friendly expression on his face, how is it even remotely evasive? Especially if they do it when the don't have a bit in their mouth. Maybe some just do it-just like some riders go around with their tongue out over the jumps.


I somewhat see where you're coming from . However, if a horse is continually playing with his tongue than he clearly has his mind directed towards playing and not his riders direction. It's simply a distraction and not a thing that most people would smile about. In the stall is one thing, but when the horse has a job at hand..not so much.

Trees4U
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:10 AM
Rubber tongue depressor works on some.
Try slipping some peanut butter on tongue just before he goes in, maple syrup can work too. (we did not use depressor and peanut butter at the same time!)Its not 100% but can help some.

We had a nice bay TB that did it and he pinned well at Vermont a couple of years ago& won the M&S Adult hunter classic too.

I have to add that it was not out constantly.

SOTB
Aug. 3, 2009, 12:04 PM
I had a great hunter that stuck her tongue out over fences. A very thin bit seemed to help, but since it was only over the fence we didn't fuss with her too much. If she put down a solid round she always placed very well. I am sure sometimes we just got lucky that the judge didn't see it since it was just over the fence, but sometimes the photographers caught it so I know she still did it. Try a thinner bit.

Ponyclubrocks
Aug. 3, 2009, 01:14 PM
My gelding does this when he's relaxed and happy, not stuck out all the way, just a little bit poking through. I think it's cute. When he is tense or pissed, no tongue in sight....

SAS
Aug. 3, 2009, 04:23 PM
Oh, my favorite topic..... I too have a 5 year old who likes to hang his tongue. Like others, it is always out one side of his mouth. He definitely does it more when flatting and less at a show when jumping around - I think because things are a bit new to him for those couple of trips. We have tried a ton of bits, flashes, figure 8's, tying his tongue, the tongue depressor, flavored bit wraps, etc. We have not had a lot of luck with any of them. Can sometimes get good results short term so we will try to save them for shows but even then, they typically only work a short while.

We did just come home from VT though and did talk to a BNT about this and also got the suggestion to try peanut butter just before going into the ring. I also bought one of those bits with the dangling keys hoping that might encourage him to keep that darn tongue in.

He is great when ridden in a hackamore. No tongue and does seem really happy in it.

It is a very frustrating habit for sure. On a positive note, as I said, we did just come back from VT and got some very good ribbons over fences (tongue not out all the time) and actually got a low hack ribbon with that think dangling around the whole time. I guess as others have said, it will clearly depend on the judge and will be the tie breaker all other things equal.

HowDoILook
Aug. 3, 2009, 04:32 PM
A horse I used to ride did this all the time. He was sucha nervous nellie and he would hang his tongue out when he was getting upset by something. Almost like how people bite there tounges. What we did was put a Fruit Roll Up around his git to keep him occupied. We used the green ones cause they were apple flavored, and if he started to slime in the middle of a class, it looked like he has eaten grass. We tried the red ones once, looked like he was bleeding from his mouth :eek::eek::eek: Worth a try

Jersey Fresh
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:33 PM
I somewhat see where you're coming from . However, if a horse is continually playing with his tongue than he clearly has his mind directed towards playing and not his riders direction. It's simply a distraction and not a thing that most people would smile about. In the stall is one thing, but when the horse has a job at hand..not so much.

Not playing, but just sticking it out. I personally think its just a variation in behavior and in horses that tend to do it both under saddle and on there own, its just a habit or quirk NOT a vice. I think there are a lot worse things that will cost you a class than a bit of tongue poking out. When it is coupled with an open mouth, tense jaw or pinned ears then it is definately an evasive behavior but to me there is a big difference between one that goes around with a their tongue out because they are trying to get it over the bit and one that just sticks it out to show it off.

TJ-your horse sounds like mine. Its out all of the time not matter what he is doing. Maybe he will outgrow it (mine is only 4) but I don't really care-my horse is a great mover, attractive, quiet has tons of personality and a wonderful brain.

SAS-we tried that bit on my horse and he loved it but still stuck his tongue out.

I think the fruit roll up or PB trick is worth a shot!

TJHunter049
Aug. 3, 2009, 11:21 PM
Thanks for your help guys! I have a few things to try now.. and I will let you know how it goes!

poltroon
Aug. 4, 2009, 03:11 AM
I have known a couple of horses who just do this, not about evasion or any particular tension. One of the horses was 3 years old when I first met him; I showed him a few times at ages 4 and 5 in the children's hunters. I know they tried just about everything. I have pictures of him jumping around at LAEC in the sloppiest mud I have ever seen, tongue still out, splattered with mud.

15 years later, I saw him at a clinic; he had ended up as a lesson horse. The tongue was still out, and he was just as happy and easygoing as ever.

So the end of that story is: try everything. But maybe in the end you'll discover a burning desire to try the jumpers. ;)

TJHunter049
Aug. 4, 2009, 05:36 PM
Haha - I was thinking about the jumpers lol, but I don't think TJ could ever do it! Thanks again for your help.. and I'll be trying everything!


I have known a couple of horses who just do this, not about evasion or any particular tension. One of the horses was 3 years old when I first met him; I showed him a few times at ages 4 and 5 in the children's hunters. I know they tried just about everything. I have pictures of him jumping around at LAEC in the sloppiest mud I have ever seen, tongue still out, splattered with mud.

15 years later, I saw him at a clinic; he had ended up as a lesson horse. The tongue was still out, and he was just as happy and easygoing as ever.

So the end of that story is: try everything. But maybe in the end you'll discover a burning desire to try the jumpers. ;)

Fun Size
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:25 PM
My horse does that! He has done really well in the rated Children's hunter divisions here in CA, so I guess it totally depends on the judge. Not bit evasion or anything in particular, he just hangs the thing out there!

I can't remember if he still does it in the rain, and he does it less at show because for him the tongue thing means he is relaxed and he is a little more up at shows usually :D

Mukluk
Apr. 18, 2011, 09:03 PM
My horse sticks her tongue out- with or without a bit. Does it a lot if she thinks she is going to get food. She is an OTTB for what that's worth. We showed in a schooling show yesterday and the judge DID NOT LIKE the tongue thing. He suggested tying it down. I just don't think I would want to do that. For my horse it seems to be just habit. She has a pleasant attitude and the judge liked her nice forward approach to the fences. I may try the peanut butter or fruit roll thing but otherwise I think it is just the way she is. Ultimately what I really want to do is eventing- so they probably won't like the tongue thing in dressage but I don't think it will matter in xc and show jumping. I wish judges would not deduct if the horse has a nice attitude- but of course I am biased.

doublesstable
Apr. 18, 2011, 09:15 PM
My horse does this too. When visiting the barn he came from a few of his brothers did this too... is it hereditary? I think so.

But saying that, it's not a "riding" or "bit" vice because he does it in his stall, in the cross ties and not all the time I am riding. Tried different bits and he still does it.

When schooling I use this and it works well for him: (Buckle Flash converter)

http://www.smartpakequine.com/ProductClass.aspx?productclassid=7837&cm_vc=Search

But in the show, well I can sometimes see his tounge flopping around as he canters. My trainer said it's not too big of a deal in the Hunters but in dressage they will kill you for it. However, the flash converter works to keep it in so if I were to do dressage I CAN use the flash converter but not in the hunters.

I have schooled in the flash at the show and then slipped it off just before my class and it seems to help.

I am totally going to try the fruit roll up idea because I do let him eat grass or something just before his class and the tounge comes out less.

I was also told years ago some of the most talented horses hang their tounges - I guess trying to make me feel better :lol:

I also had a dressage trainer ride him and get him to stop hanging by riding exercises that got him to relax in the right jaw.. this guy was amazing.... I coudn't do it however.

Beethoven
Apr. 18, 2011, 11:22 PM
My horse didn't use to do this, but he now does, but its because he is old. It had been bugging me that he stuck his tongue out to the right all the time...well its just the edge out not the whole thing. I then noticed during his dental that the bottom molar on the right side is almost all gone and his canine on that side is not that big, so it more of when the bit goes in his mouth and opens up his lips some the tongue sticks out. When the bit is not in his mouth, the lips on that side cover the tongue being off to the side. So, when he is relaxed under tack it just pokes out of his right side a tiny bit. I found the nathe bit works the best. When he is jumping, the tongue stays in because he is more excited I think. :lol:

I for awhile kept asking him to put his tongue in but then realized that its not his fault but rather old age's fault and his teeth not wearing evenly, so nothing really holds it in on that side.

Mukluk
Apr. 19, 2011, 12:20 AM
I use my horse's JC name "A True Angel" in shows but if I didn't I would consider the following for show names....

Lickety Split.
Oral fixation.
or........
Tongue Action!!!!

kahhull
Apr. 19, 2011, 12:50 AM
I had a gelding that would stick his tongue out the left side of his mouth a lot. He didn't seem to be evading the bit at all and had no signs of resistance, just liked to stick his tongue out the side. Even with a flash he could still get his tongue around it and let it hang there. Luckily the person I sold him to thought it was adorable. He picked it up at around 5 years old, but I think it just took him that long to figure out where his tongue was and decided it was fun.

He also liked to lick me when I was on the ground... particularly when he was nervous. No teeth, all tongue. Kind a goofy horse.

On the other hand, I used to ride a horse that would stick his tongue over the bit all the time and THAT was evasive (whether he meant it to be or not, in the end there was nothing in my hand). Drove me nuts, but he only did it in a mullen mouth pelham. I put him in a jointed pelham and he wouldn't do it and didn't develop any alternate vices (whew).

alterhorse
Apr. 19, 2011, 02:37 AM
As an intresting note, there's been speculation that some OTTB's may develop tongue vices after being tongue tied at the track.

Some believe improper tongue tying or even improper handling of the tongue (such as when pulling the tongue out and to the side to inspect the inside of a horses mouth) may be a cause of permanent nerve damage to the tongue.

howardh
Apr. 19, 2011, 07:33 AM
Many horses and in particular more sensitive horses do not like tongue pressure! Jointed snaffle bits put pressure on the tongue. A horse can avoid tongue pressure in many different ways, one of which is sticking his tongue out the sides of his face.

Yes, he is now going around happily because he has relieved tongue pressure!

Once they learn to do this ONCE it can easily become a habit that is hard to break.

Your only solution for hunters is to ride in a ported bit. They are not evil or harsh. A port is a simply a different shape that allows the tongue to move freely and they are very comfortable to the horse.
No one can see what you have inside the mouth so you will not be knocked down.

Mullens, and peanuts bits and the like still rotate down onto the tongue. I think you need to try a real port, the kind that will freak you out that is wide allowing for max tongue relief!

Go buy Myler's book on bitting. There is a new one out that talks a lot about the muscles and nerves and what happens to a horse when we restrict the tongue. It is a good read. Best of all Myler rents bits!!! You can try before you buy. I think other companies do this too but Myler has a great selection of ported bits that I don't think other companies have, at least they didn't when I had this very same problem 4 years ago!

I don't know where you are but if you were near me I would let you try all my PORTED hunt D bits!

Alice
Apr. 19, 2011, 10:32 AM
FWIW my vet says they are trying to stretch their necks when they do that.

Stretching and chiro did seem to help my horse, I can't remember the last time he did it now.

But he is young so perhaps he simply grew out of it...

doublesstable
Apr. 19, 2011, 11:16 AM
It depends on the horse... so if your horse is like mine and does it because of tension - you must get him soft and relaxed...

And bits - does your horse do this in his stall or when being groomed? Not always related to the bit.

Just like a human child may suck their thumb or bite their fingernails or pace - it's just something they do to relax.

My horse was never handled wrong in the mouth (owned him since he was a week old) I think a line of TB's pass on this tradition to their siblings... that's why it's thought the race industry causes this. I have studied it and I know the lines that are prone to the oral sedative action.

Ibex
Apr. 19, 2011, 11:22 AM
It can be a sign of pain - a horse in our barn started doing it, turned out her had navicular changes.

cheektwocheek
Apr. 19, 2011, 11:25 AM
Serious issues aside, just tell others he has a new job licking stamps:lol:

sansibar
Apr. 19, 2011, 11:51 AM
For us we got him to stop by putting a figure-eight on and bit guards. By riding him around in that for schooling, he does it a lot less with other bridles now, and he can keep it in for a whole round now. Maybe try schooling in a bridle like that and then switch it right before you go in?