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vestito
Aug. 14, 2009, 04:59 PM
Reading Sally O'Connor's Common Sense Dressage book and at one point she says her best advice to someone with a horse with a mouth problem is to get a new horse. I just tried to find this in the book and can't but that is about what she said. Mouth problems can be heart breaking.

So I am wondering what everyone else thinks about this. Are some mouth problems just not fixable? I remember Nona Garson saying this very same thing at the EA last year.

goeslikestink
Aug. 14, 2009, 05:17 PM
depends on what kind of mouth problem as most mouth pproblems are bad hands bad teeth or ill fitting tack.. and or rider errors

mjrtango93
Aug. 14, 2009, 05:23 PM
We have had 2 horses with mouth problems and both have been quite good. But not sure if you mean mouth problem from injury, or if your talking hard mouthed. Both ours have been injury. My guy had apparently had a mishap with a barb wire fence as a yearling, and when the vets put him back together had to partially sew the right half of his mouth closed. So basically his mouth looked fine from one side, but the other side was shorter (if that makes any sense). Anyway I took him through fourth level quite successfully! He could take a think mouthpiece in either a loose ring or a double, but it would crack and have issues so he also got schooled alot in a hackamore or just a dropped noseband with a rein on the sidering (yes he was a very good boy!).

The other one we have is current, being aimed at eventing. He is only 6 but going prelim and actually had his jaw broken at the track. If you open his mouth his teeth nowhere near touch, and you can actually see the break/dislocation at the very front just below the teeth line. Its kind of gross looking, but doesn't effect him much and no pain, so vet said to leave it. Only thing he does is it can be hard to turn right when jumping as he will cross his jaw. Other then that he is completely light in the mouth and lovely to ride.

Dressage_Julie
Aug. 14, 2009, 05:40 PM
I had a horse with mouth problems. Bought him in the Netherlands thinking I could fix him. He was six going in a double bridle, with all the muscles in the wrong places. I tried to fix him, but it was too late. The tongue would stick out, and he would get it over the bit often. Had the dentist out, and after 2 years of working on his teeth, he said the problems should go away (had zigzag teeth in the back, so it took multiple filings to get them to the point where the teeth were not touching gum). But they didn't he actually got worse. If someone knows how to fix a mouth problem, please share. I had to part with him, but I am curious if there was a way to fix his learned behavior.

TropicalStorm
Aug. 14, 2009, 05:43 PM
I'd be interested in hearing stories. I have a 4 year old right now that has had mouth problems since being a foal. He constantly opens and closes his mouth, and almost stretches down like he's unlocking his jaw. Xrays have revealed nothing, he's had floatings up the ying yang, and the vets can't figure another out. They believe it to be a bad habit, since he has done it since a foal. He's been started now, and its a real pain in the butt, because he does not easily accept contact whatsoever. Tried different bits, flash noseband, nothing. He seems to brace against it and consistently try to move the bit around. I'm getting really frustrated

Dressage Art
Aug. 14, 2009, 05:55 PM
I heard before that mouth problems are the hardest to fix, but I didn't realize how hard they are to fix.

My current mare is my very first horse that came to me with mouth problems. Her mouth was ripped on both sides from "one rein stops" and mouth yanking. She had open bloody blisters in both sides of her mouth. She was a head shaker, stopper, bunny hopper, and use to rear up a bit (but not very high).

The progress with that horse was the slowest that I ever had with any of the horses. It took me at least 2-3 years just to deal with her "mouth" problems. Trust was lost and there were no way back to normal. It was very frustrating + there are not many trainers who want to take a horse with mouth problems, since it makes them look bad from the get go and from the painfully slow progress as well.

My advice would be: do not buy a horse with mouth problems. If you are not madly in love with your horse, sell the horse that has mouth problems = you'll have a chance to stay saner.

Me? I admit, I'm a sucker and I stuck it out with my mare, but this one seems to be the horse of my life for her personality. I'm not sure if I would off stuck as far for any of my previous horses.

Gloria
Aug. 14, 2009, 06:06 PM
What kind of mouth problem? My first horse constantly sticked his tongue over the bit when I first got him. I don't know whether his prevoius owner was heavy handed but I did know that he was very uncomfortable with bits. We could be standing there with loose rein just relaxing, except he would not relax. He would try to push the bit out of his mouth. Any single jointed snaffle was bad for him. He cannot stand french link (too much activity for him). Any thick bits that are supposed to be gentle are intolerable to him. He went easier bitless.

Then I tried Myler comfort snaffle... and the rest is history. He is still sensitive but no longer chomp down on it and no longer stick his tongue over.

Dressage Art
Aug. 14, 2009, 06:10 PM
If someone knows how to fix a mouth problem, please share. I had to part with him, but I am curious if there was a way to fix his learned behavior.

Every horse is an individual. So there is absolutely no way of saying if he was fixable. Fixing a bad mouth takes similar feeling/timing as training a piaffe. It's all in the feeling and it's really hard to explain.

What helped my mare?

* I never, NEVER, yanked or jabbed my mare with the bit on her mouth. Going above the bit or shacking her head was NEVER her fault. I just kept my cool and same steady contact. Even when she would take off in a dead gallop, I would keep the same light contact and circle in to smaller circle rather than pull on her mouth.

* going on the long, long walk trail rides with a steady contact, weight of my hands, and following her mouth with exactly the same weight when she oscillates her neck during the walk.

* Always have a positive light and steady contact with her mouth: no variations of strong contact or no contact - absolutely even contact no matter what we did.

* working on the honest stretches down and forward in the beginning and the end of the training session. I would pick her up only in the middle for 15-20 minutes.

* Baucher side flexions = the same as ground carrot flexions, only from the saddle during halt, then during trot, then canter = goal is that horse will FOLLOW your hand to the side, pulling your horse's head to the side defeats the purpose of this exercise.

At the end, horse was OK with weight of the bit and weigh of my hands in her mouth = just like a friendly hand-shake. Horse was able to follow my hands to both sides and downwards.

slc2
Aug. 14, 2009, 06:27 PM
It really depends. Some horses can have their mouth problems be fixed, some can't.

The problems are not always due to 'bad hands', 'rider error'.

The 'mouth problem' often isn't a mouth problem at all. Sometimes it's a 'whole conformation' problem (a heavily built horse with little balance and a low-set, thick, stiff neck can't easily be 'light' on the reins) or a 'temperament problem' or a 'years of bad training' problem. The horse that was so lovingly ridden on a loose rein 'as a baby' may be very uncomfortable with a contact after years of having that contact thrown away.

But, an inexperienced, tense person, as well as a hesitant, inconsistent, afraid to take a contact, rider, really can contribute to the problems horses have.

Almost all horses have 'mouth problems'. A horse with a heavier conformation or with less natural balance is a challenge to create a light supple contact. An upright horse with a tight topline may not even touch the bit. Most horses have some degree of these problems.

These animals over the years are slowly improved by good riding and training.

There are horses that much more serious problems. Some horses are just born this way. They are afraid of contacting the bit, and if you teach them to stretch, they seem to get even more confused and go from not touching the bit to snagging it and pulling down aggressively. Others have little natural balance and pull. Some horses simply have issues with their mouth.

If they are always ridden by very clever, experienced riders, the issues can continually be worked on and carefully improved. If they meet up with someone who doesn't understand what to do, the issues get worse. But with some horses even the cleverest most experienced rider is working very hard to keep the horses looking good.

Sometimes the solution is to do exactly the opposite of what the owner wants to do, and people can get so stubborn that they can do the wrong thing for a very long time. It's so hard to make a change, but often, that's what is needed.

The horse that fusses at the bit might need the bit raised in its mouth - the fussy horse may need a tighter noseband, not a looser one, and not loose, hanging down reins. Some horses are simply driven nuts by a bit rattling around in their mouths and don't settle into a good contact til the bit is held still.

The puller that the owner wants to 'lighten' with a more rigid bit or harsher bit, may go far, far better in the long run in a plain snaffle with loose rings. It may be counter-intuitive, but the puller often is far better off in a mild bit that the rider can get him looser in.

NCSue
Aug. 15, 2009, 05:07 PM
We bought a mare - not a dressage prospect - with some mouth issues. Long story short. Her mouth issues probably stem from multiple issues - like all things horse - but a lot has to do with her TMJ misfiring. If you look up TMD syndrome you will see some info. Still working on retraining but having her seen and worked on by an osteopath has yielded the best results. Now we have to do the retraining step by step. Thankfully I have a very supportive trainer and we are now investigating bitless bridles.

albigears
Aug. 15, 2009, 05:28 PM
I was just going to post about this same thing, so I'll try adding on here first instead. This is not a teeth problem- had them floated and checked by a vet in the past 4 months.

My young TB goes along with his tongue on top of the bit. He is soft, he flexes, and is learning to come onto the bit from behind. He's starting to stretch down and we're in the beginning phases of 'long and low'.

However I have this strong belief that his tongue needs to be under the bit.

I use a loose fitted flash in order to keep his tongue inside his mouth... I don't believe that a noseband should be the "fix". I did try shoving his tongue under the bit, tightening the bridle way up, and cranking down a flash noseband. He was unhappy and still had his tongue over the bit in seconds.

I've ruled out single joint snaffles completely as he has a very low, flat palate and a HUGE tongue.

Egads I've spent some money on different bits. Looking around for the thinnest bit I could find, I bought a Myler comfort snaffle and he goes around well in that with his tongue over the bit. I just bought a Sprenger Ultra loose ring and he goes around well in that with his tongue over the bit. I tried the rubber bit ports and he got his tongue over that, scooted it to the side, and chewed it up.

I'm afraid to tie his tongue as I've never even seen it done and would HATE to do it wrong- plus it's illegal for dressage I'm sure.

Here are some bits that look like medieval torture devices I'm thinking of trying just to teach him about keeping his tongue under the bit:
http://albigears.blogspot.com/2009/08/bits-damn-bits.html

What do you think? If he seems to be going well with his tongue over the bit should I just leave it alone???

Megan

slc2
Aug. 15, 2009, 05:48 PM
The oddest thing I've ever run into is a 'bit popper', my friend's little 13 hand pony. His jaw is so tiny and short he pops the bit with his back teeth almost constantly. There's no room to put the bit lower, if it is, it's banging against his tushes and he gets frantic. Someone even seems to have almost completely hacked off the leading edge of the two lower first molars to try to stop him.

TropicalStorm
Aug. 15, 2009, 05:52 PM
We bought a mare - not a dressage prospect - with some mouth issues. Long story short. Her mouth issues probably stem from multiple issues - like all things horse - but a lot has to do with her TMJ misfiring. If you look up TMD syndrome you will see some info. Still working on retraining but having her seen and worked on by an osteopath has yielded the best results. Now we have to do the retraining step by step. Thankfully I have a very supportive trainer and we are now investigating bitless bridles.
If you could PM me, I'd be interested in hearing what symptoms your mare had, and what you have found has worked

Dressage Art
Aug. 15, 2009, 06:06 PM
The horse that fusses at the bit might need the bit raised in its mouth - the fussy horse may need a tighter noseband, not a looser one,...

I don't think so.
Why tighter noseband? How that will help a horse with mouth problems?

slc2
Aug. 15, 2009, 06:36 PM
I've seen it help a number of horses, in fact. Because they don't like the bit wiggling around in their mouth. The caveson holds the bit more steady.

BaroquePony
Aug. 15, 2009, 08:19 PM
Originally posted by albigears:

I was just going to post about this same thing, so I'll try adding on here first instead. This is not a teeth problem- had them floated and checked by a vet in the past 4 months.

My young TB goes along with his tongue on top of the bit. He is soft, he flexes, and is learning to come onto the bit from behind. He's starting to stretch down and we're in the beginning phases of 'long and low'.

However I have this strong belief that his tongue needs to be under the bit.

I use a loose fitted flash in order to keep his tongue inside his mouth... I don't believe that a noseband should be the "fix". I did try shoving his tongue under the bit, tightening the bridle way up, and cranking down a flash noseband. He was unhappy and still had his tongue over the bit in seconds.

I've ruled out single joint snaffles completely as he has a very low, flat palate and a HUGE tongue.

Egads I've spent some money on different bits. Looking around for the thinnest bit I could find, I bought a Myler comfort snaffle and he goes around well in that with his tongue over the bit. I just bought a Sprenger Ultra loose ring and he goes around well in that with his tongue over the bit. I tried the rubber bit ports and he got his tongue over that, scooted it to the side, and chewed it up.

I'm afraid to tie his tongue as I've never even seen it done and would HATE to do it wrong- plus it's illegal for dressage I'm sure.

Here are some bits that look like medieval torture devices I'm thinking of trying just to teach him about keeping his tongue under the bit:
http://albigears.blogspot.com/

What do you think? If he seems to be going well with his tongue over the bit should I just leave it alone???

Megan

Albigears, is that is your horse in the blog with the very long tongue? That set of photos shows the bit hanging way too far down in the mouth. Should be snug up against the corners of the horse's mouth to where there are (as a rule) two wrinkles at the top of the corner of the mouth on each side. Much harder to get the tongue over the bit when it is snugged up higher to where it should be.

However, getting the tongue over the bit is a bad habit. I would raise the bit higher to start with.

slc2
Aug. 15, 2009, 08:32 PM
The blog pictures show a bit adjusted to hang extremely low in the mouth. This causes horses to put their tongue over the bit in an effort to get the pressure off the front of the tongue. The jaw, where the bit then lays, is generally not comfortable for the horse either, and causes most horses to suck behind the bit and to take very little contact with the rein.

The bit needs to be raised quite a bit. The size of the bit may also be incorrect; it's hanging too low to evaluate its fit.

vestito
Aug. 15, 2009, 08:33 PM
wow so many interesting replies. I too would love to hear more from you NCsue about your mare.
Mine too is a mare and I am desperately seeking help. I have been trying to get up to lesson with a new trainer and hope to get there this week. The trainer has only seen her once and hasn't seen this problem yet .She only saw the mare briefly and not long enough to see what she does.
She also has another problem I am trying to address which may or may not go hand in hand.
I did have a very reputable chiro come out and showed him my concerns, he is returning in two weeks. I had her teeth done before riding her and they said they were in good shape.
I love this mare and would love to try and get her mouth issues resolved. I won't give up easily as she is all I have to ride and I do love her. I have trained many horses over the years and don't have this type of experience and don't want to make any mistakes which is why I am seeking out any info and help I can get. thanks!

Dressage Art
Aug. 15, 2009, 08:35 PM
I've seen it help a number of horses, in fact. Because they don't like the bit wiggling around in their mouth. The caveson holds the bit more steady.

Noseband doesn't do much for the secure holding of the bit, it's the flash that does that or raising the bit higher or d-ring bits. However, do me a favor and please try that:

* Before tightening the noseband, put your hand under the crown peace of the bridle between your horse's ears. Remember the pressure and how easy it is to slide your hand under the bridle's crown.

* tighten the noseband with no pressure on the horse's checks/jaw so that you can easily slide in 2-3 fingers under the noseband. Now again put your hand under the crown peace of the bridle between your horse's ears. Remember the pressure. You'll see that it's more snug/secure now.

* tighten the noseband with hard pressure on the horse's checks/jaw, as hard as some riders do it, that you really need to put some muscles in to tightening it and it produces bulges on both sides of the noseband. Now again put your hand under the crown peace of the bridle between your horse's ears. You'll see that it's almost impossible to slide up your hand under the crown peace of the bridle. Bridle becomes a torture device putting so much pressure on horse's head that it's giving him a headache every time that you tag on the bridle.

Yes, I've seen some trainers crank up the noseband and exclaim "oh, look that's a different horse now! A pleasure to ride!" but it's a short lived triumph and "help". In the long run no horse will want to work with such pain from the very strong pressure on their head/ears.

I agree that a secure bit can make a HUGE difference in horse’s mouth. I would say that a correctly fitted egg bar or D-ring bit that has secure rings is a better solution than a tight noseband. It’s secure with no pain attached.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_bwGNY6UO-LA/SMXhqCxNgWI/AAAAAAAAAF8/S_76iG1uCkc/s320/iceycrap1.bmp this is too much and I consider that in the harsh methods of training just like those: http://www.horseadvice.com/horse/messages/7/207239.jpg
http://www.bitlessbridle.com/RollkurFig4a.jpg
since it's also easier to controll the horse that way.

slc2
Aug. 15, 2009, 08:40 PM
I don't care for a bar bit or a d-ring. The loose ring is looser and gets a looser, more supple response. I am not talking aobut tightening the caveson 'cranked down' tight, it is merely tightened slightly to keep the bit secure.

albigears
Aug. 15, 2009, 09:45 PM
Yes, the pictures with the horse's tongue hanging out make it look like the bit needs to be raised- a couple of inches! I really don't know how he did that. When his mouth is closed, there are 2-3 wrinkles on both sides behind the bit. I put 2 more pictures on the blog because of the comments I was getting about raising the bit up.

Here's a pic: mouth closed (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kHSMxCMAhL8/SodenNQFSPI/AAAAAAAAAjQ/ympud78lIKY/s1600-h/DSCN4310.JPG)

I have tried really raising it way up- very tight, just to see what would happen. He still got his tongue over it.

BaroquePony
Aug. 15, 2009, 11:17 PM
Originally posted by Dressage Art:

Yes, I've seen some trainers crank up the noseband and exclaim "oh, look that's a different horse now! A pleasure to ride!" but it's a short lived triumph and "help". In the long run no horse will want to work with such pain from the very strong pressure on their head/ears.

I don't know how tightening a noseband would effect a horse's head/ears; it should really only effect their nose/jaw.

atr
Aug. 15, 2009, 11:36 PM
Albigears, have you tried a Kineton noseband? Will hold the bit up in the mouth.

Or, easier on the pocket book, a baucher bit? Might help.

Karoline
Aug. 16, 2009, 12:04 AM
If you got a cranio-sacral equine massage pro that comes well recommended they may be able to help with TMJ issues or hyoid issues as well as alignment issues that can contribute to tongue problems. I have seen hyoid releases done that have benefited tongue problems but the person who does them has to really know what they are doing - with just a few years of studies under my belt, I would not do them personally.

Karoline
Aug. 16, 2009, 12:06 AM
I don't know how tightening a noseband would effect a horse's head/ears; it should really only effect their nose/jaw.


Think about where the noseband strap is. Its over the poll, if its tightned then there is constant pressure on the poll and at the base of the ears because the strap does not have any give.

Thomas_1
Aug. 16, 2009, 01:05 AM
IF that's what was said and it's not taken out of context, then it's a somewhat ridiculous closed and arbitrary suggestion from someone with a closed mind who doesn't mind wasting horses and writing them off.

One of the best ride and drive horses I've ever owned has a dentition abnormality which means he has one tooth that grows excessively that has to be attended to every 3 years.

I've also had a horse in for training that had the roof mouth like raw meat because of a heavy handed previous rider overusing the snaffle rein on a double bridle that went on to make a fantastic *** eventer. Albeit it took time.

Dressage Art
Aug. 16, 2009, 02:06 AM
I don't know how tightening a noseband would effect a horse's head/ears; it should really only effect their nose/jaw.
That test was shown to me by classical master Manolo Mendez (Dressage Royal Spanish School in Jerez). Just try it - you'll see the connection... or stand up now, tighten your belt/pants supper tight and you'll get a wedgy ;) :lol: it's all connected! I can bet a cup of coffee on it!

PS: tongue out is a punishable problem in dressage tests = lower scores.

Ambrey
Aug. 16, 2009, 03:18 AM
I read somewhere that the best bit for the tongue over the bit types was the segunda.

Just a piece of random information that may or may not be at all applicable here.

Besides the suggestion of a kineton noseband, what about a crescent noseband? Or even a dropped noseband? (just ideas thrown out there, I have no experience with this, maybe someone else could comment on those choices).

slc2
Aug. 16, 2009, 06:13 AM
Albigears the horse has no caveson on the bridle, so there isn't any way to correct the position of the tongue. The caveson helps to keep the tongue in position. I would get rid of the egg butt bit, and get a loose ring, which is...looser, LOL. And put it higher in the mouth. The low setting of the bit is extremely annoying to a horse and perpetuates the bad habit.

BaroquePony
Aug. 16, 2009, 10:14 AM
Karoline and Dressage Art, tightening the noseband excessively will not allow any give (where the noseband itself can slide up a little ways) if you slide your hand under the crownpiece, but it is not directly adding pressure to the poll and ears by just tightening the noseband.

slc2, the horse in question is wearing a loose-ring snaffle so why are you telling Albigears to "get rid of the eggbutt"?

Aligears, I don't know where to find one right now, but there is a bit guard that has a "Y" shaped center piece that runs all the way up the center of the horse's face and connects to the crownpiece at the top of the bridle. The whole thing is made of the same rubber as bit guards except for a small leather loop at the top for the crownpiece of the bridle. It is designed to keep the horse from getting its tongue over the bit ... they are used on racehorses quite frequently. It is designed to hold the bit up and snug against the roof of the mouth so the horse cannot get his tongue over it. It is somewhat flexible and may not work on an overly determined horse, but is considered a humane way of approaching the problem.

Also, the "two wrinkles" rule is two big wrinkles ... not all of the regular horse lip wrinkles. Your bit is hanging down way too far.

slc2
Aug. 16, 2009, 11:17 AM
Because the pic I saw had an eggbut snaffle.

albigears
Aug. 16, 2009, 01:53 PM
Who was that rider who had the Grand Prix jumper whose tongue was always hanging out? The horse would tuck it inside until he was concentrating on the jump and the tongue would flop out again. I remember an interview where the rider said they tried everything and the tongue always flopped out, but since the horse didn't seem to be saying he was actually in pain, they just decided to leave it be. It was the funniest thing seeing the horse going around happy as a lark to be jumping, with this tongue sticking out of mouth.

I think that horse was Robinson with Richard Spooner.

Ambrey, thanks for the tip! I did some research on Segunda bits (never heard of them before) and will keep it in mind. I can see how they would help keep the tongue under the bit, but they also act like a curb and put pressure on the roof of the horse's mouth (which I'm trying to avoid). It looks like they're popular with horses that pull.

atr- The Kineton noseband sounds like it might be the answer. It would raise the bit up and would take some pressure off of his mouth and transfer it to his nose. Holy cats they're expensive! Especially for what they are. Will start searching ebay, etc. Thanks for the info.

BaroquePony- I've seen those bit guards on racehorses as well. I don't know where to find them either- although I may contact the gal I bought him from as her husband trains racehorses at Portland Meadows. Somehow it seems more feasible when someone else suggests it. Thanks!

vestito
Aug. 16, 2009, 10:55 PM
wow this thread is discouraging. I really wanted a horse to ride but looks like I will just need to start over with this mare and hope that I can rewrite the script.

slc2
Aug. 16, 2009, 11:02 PM
Why would you have to do that? Some horses respond immediately when whatever is bothering them is fixed. The horse might need nothing more than a dentist appointment.

vestito
Aug. 17, 2009, 03:54 PM
Already had the best dentist the area has to offer and he said no problem teeth are in good order. Also have a perfectly fitting saddle that a master saddler just adjusted. Also had hocks done and chiropractor out, have the best shoer and have trained enough horses not to blame my hands.
So I am thinking its back to basics and starting over.

NCSue
Aug. 18, 2009, 09:23 AM
Here's a good article explaining TMJ and TMD http://www.equinecraniosacral.com/articles/article2.html and another one http://www.lunatunesfreestyles.com/horse%20tmj%20and%20joints.htm

I have worked with OTTBs a fair amount and they are masters about getting their tongues over the bits. Surprisingly so are draft horses. It's basic but make sure the length is appropriate to your horse's mouth. Not all horses are 5". Most of us get concerned about the width/thickness. They make a rubber bit port that you can place on your bit to make it hard for some horses to get their tongue over the bit. Here's a link: http://www.doversaddlery.com/rubber-bit-port/p/X1-021/cn/1481/

This mare was bought for my 14 y/o daughter who fell in love with her. The mare is nicely trained and appropriate for what our needs. The mouth issues didn't trouble me greatly at the time. Some of the things we noticed were: heavy in your hand, pulling the reins out of your hand, stiffness in her neck, sore back, flying changes weren't clean, and really resistant to any lateral work especially to the right.

I don't know if this mare has been raced or race trained. This mare is 13 y/o and has been shown a fair amount. While this mare is not a dressage prospect, I am following the training scale. At this time riding with almost any contact is too difficult for her. I'm trying very hard not to have her feel confined by the aids. We did go the route of tightening the cavesson, using a flash, and adjusting the bit higher. This did nothing but heap more stress on the mare. She couldn't stick her tongue out so she started flapping her lips. She was not relaxed nor was she happy. That's not what I wanted. Had been to a few trainers and all seemed to have little helpful advice and most thought I was wasting time. It seemed that instead of improving I was seeing a horse that was more and more on edge. Alright, time to do things differently. This is a very sensitive, hot, nervous mare. I don't think you can separate temperment from training. My goal was to keep things quiet with no confrontation and keep her relaxed. The first rides were at the walk with lots of whoas and praise thrown in. Then started adding some lateral bending. Became very obvious than when I wanted her to bend to the right that she was resistant and tongue became active. Physical connection? Introduced the trot and kept it slow tempo. Lots of up and down transitions with very little hand. Voice, breathing, seat and legs were the aids used. Until the other day we have done no cantering under saddle. She loves to canter and gets quite happy becoming very resistant to down transitions. I didn't want to fall into having to use hand at this time. She stayed very relaxed, got a little happy but had nice down transitions to the trot then walk then whoa. Keep in mind that this all work done at home. I will take her to a lesson this Sunday. Will be interesting to see if different environment affects her and have tentative plans to show her end of September at an open show.

I have tried a couple of different bits. She's seems happiest with the Myler comfort bit with a roller. Goes in a standard bridle with cavesson, no flash. Won't know all the answers about her TMJ until after she's seen by the osteopath in October.

When I purchased this mare she had a few farrier issues going on. Getting her feet balanced has made her more comfortable. She was definitely out through her spine and SI's. Had her adjusted. Then had saddle fitted. I don't think any one of these by themself would have made much difference but all of them together has made her more comfortable. I also changed her diet. I wished I had a one part answer for all of you. I don't.

In all honesty I did visit the thought of getting rid of this mare, but she had so much good that I wanted to find answers. I don't believe the tongue issue will ever entirely go away. I'm hoping, at best, that it can be manageable.

vestito
Aug. 18, 2009, 11:44 PM
thanks so much for all that info. I am going to try that bit on another horse that was also difficult and sounds exactly like your mare. The one thing that helped him the most was the Back On Track saddle pad.
I can't wait to try that bit on him. Thanks again.
I had a long talk with the trainer that I want to work with and I will be going super slow with this mare. She is telling me not to worry about the mouth and to treat her like a 3 yr old. She is 8 and can only be ridden for 20 minutes and I loose her. So 20 minutes it is.
thanks again I can't wait to check out the links

NCSue
Aug. 19, 2009, 08:59 AM
She is telling me not to worry about the mouth and to treat her like a 3 yr old. She is 8 and can only be ridden for 20 minutes and I loose her. So 20 minutes it is.

Loose her? How? Sometimes you have to think of terms of training age instead of chronological age.

slc2
Aug. 19, 2009, 07:13 PM
I don't think that's what she is 'telling'.

HollysHobbies
Aug. 19, 2009, 07:37 PM
I had a morgan years ago whose mouth had been destroyed on the Morgan Park Horse circuit. But he had a wonderful, willing disposition so I was able to teach him to whoa through my seat/knees (when I squeezed my knees, he slowed down). A hackmore wasn't in my vocabulary at the time, but it was amazing how quickly he figured out what I wanted, even though his mouth had little feeling in it/he had no idea what the bit was really there for.

Anyway, if it's a mouth problem, I'd say yes. If it's an attitude problem, then I'm not sure.

I also see a lot of people put TOO fat a bit in their horse's mouth--horses have different shaped mouths/bars and some can be uncomfortable in too fat a bit.

goeslikestink
Aug. 20, 2009, 03:01 AM
thanks so much for all that info. I am going to try that bit on another horse that was also difficult and sounds exactly like your mare. The one thing that helped him the most was the Back On Track saddle pad.
I can't wait to try that bit on him. Thanks again.
I had a long talk with the trainer that I want to work with and I will be going super slow with this mare. She is telling me not to worry about the mouth and to treat her like a 3 yr old. She is 8 and can only be ridden for 20 minutes and I loose her. So 20 minutes it is.
thanks again I can't wait to check out the links

it might be that the bit is hanging to low in the horses mouth so the tongue goes over
so you need to up the cheek peices the bit should lie on the corners of the mouth and the corners should have one fold or wrinkle as the head is slightly turned in the pic looks like that the bit is hanging to low and might also pinch the horse perhaps put bit guards on the horse to prevent pinching from the loose ring on sides of his mouth this also might stop him from putting his tongue over as it might be that its sore on the corners of his mouth from the pinch of the loose rings

when the tongue is on top it works against the bars of the mouth without the cushion of the tongue the metal bit will bang on the sensitive bars and the horse will look for everyway possible to avade it, so they tend to put there tongue over the bit which in truth cuases more problems

so you have makesure the bit is not to low and is the correct size forthe horses mouth
both in lenght and in width as each horses mouth is different

perhaps try using a thick caverson nose band -which will help to keep the mouth closed
so that his tongue has less room to move around in
a fitted caverson should be so that you can get two fingers in behind the nose band part
and should be lower than his cheek bones just above the bit area
as when it acts it in place of the lower yaw which will steady the mouth

if this fails then perhaps you might want to try a tongue guard or tongue port which can be metal or rubber which will prevent the horse from getting his tongue over the bit there are serveral makes whereby they attach to the bit your using although never used them myself

if your working your horse and his tongue is out you should always check that the bit isnt underneath some horses have there tongues hanging out even when the bit is fitted in the correct place but you would be penalised in dressage but not so much in jumping events

mbm
Aug. 20, 2009, 12:53 PM
Yes, the pictures with the horse's tongue hanging out make it look like the bit needs to be raised- a couple of inches! I really don't know how he did that. When his mouth is closed, there are 2-3 wrinkles on both sides behind the bit. I put 2 more pictures on the blog because of the comments I was getting about raising the bit up.

Here's a pic: mouth closed (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kHSMxCMAhL8/SodenNQFSPI/AAAAAAAAAjQ/ympud78lIKY/s1600-h/DSCN4310.JPG)

I have tried really raising it way up- very tight, just to see what would happen. He still got his tongue over it.
your bit way too low. even in the closed mouth pic you can see how low it is.

i would raise it up at least a couple holes.... it should fit snugly in the corners of his mouth....

eta: since he has now learned how to stick his tongue over the bit you will also need to put a nose band on- correctly fitted, so he can re-learn how to quietly carry a bit. however, once a horse learns to evade the bit it can be difficult to train that out.

a quick search returned this which will give you an idea of how a bit should fit...
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-32965594616216_2066_629418&imgrefurl=http://www.marystack.com/english-tack-bridles-dressage-bridles.html&usg=__meYvvG4SnM4Ldz6WfsIxYKPYwNA=&h=100&w=100&sz=9&hl=en&start=33&um=1&tbnid=KMdB6iAAlULdbM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=82&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsnaffle%2Bdressage%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3 Den%26rlz%3D1C1CHMH_enUS300US304%26sa%3DN%26start% 3D18%26um%3D1

also, it appears that western folks have the snaffle too low for what dressage/english folks think is correct so that may be part of the problem.

slc2
Aug. 21, 2009, 07:29 AM
The 'mouth closed' picture shows the horse with the bit very low in its mouth still. The bit also does not appear to fit.