View Full Version : Looking for options for horse with scarred tongue

May. 21, 2010, 10:08 AM
Honestly, I'm not sure it's "scarred" but I do know she had a tongue injury at some point and cannot stand a snaffle of any kind or contact.

She's actually my BF's roping mare, who I'm riding for the rest of the year while he's gone/back/gone/back (go Navy). At the beginning of next year she goes to a roping barn for most of 2011 to stay tuned up while he's perma-gone. Obviously I'm not going to be doing more than hacking (or sneaking a few jumps because I think she can) so I'm not necessarily looking for "show legal" options. But I also don't want to ride her in the big ported curb whatever bit he rides in at rodeos, nor do I want to ride in a bosal he has with reins that I can barely wrap my hand around.

May. 21, 2010, 10:13 AM
What about a bitless bridle or hackamore? A few years ago I hacked a horse with an old tongue injury a few times per week and used this http://www.bitlessbridle.com/ and it actually worked quite well!

May. 21, 2010, 10:21 AM
If she is a roping horse she is broke, so get a wide ported bit. A Myler number 33. This puts no tongue pressure on the horse and it comes in an English D cheek.

This bit will work off the bars which are much less sensitive than the tongue and you can rent it and try it before buying.

I don't know what other companies sell an English D with a port, I know they are out there but you need to get a wide port as it frees up the tongue.

Most folks are under the impression that a port is a harsh bit. Nothing could be further from the truth. A port frees up the tongue, which is actually the most sensitive part of the horse's mouth. A port (unless it is a spade) does NOT hit the roof of the mouth, it rotates down just like a snaffle, but off to the side of the tongue.

May. 21, 2010, 10:26 AM
Might want to rethink your aversion to that "big old port". The purpose of that port is to provide tongue relief-put no pressure on the tongue. Except for the spade and some half breeds, it does NOT press on the roof of the mouth. Don't be afraid of it, it may be very comfortable for that horse.

If you want to hop a few jumps, remember the Western Trail class often includes a jump or two (up to 2'9" or so). Standard show bit is a ported curb. Won't hurt a thing just you have to remember no light contact with that kind of bit. Seat, leg and voice guide the Western horse.

Other then that, you can try a hackamore-the mechanical kind-or a side pull.

May. 21, 2010, 12:14 PM
Have you ever had a vet look at her tongue? Just wondering as we had a young gelding that we bought un-broke that was very similar when we broke him in. At first just thought it was aversion to any contact, didn't see anything in his mouth. After a couple months in work and little improvement we had the vet come and sedate him to get a good look and to float his teeth. Poor horse had almost 2" of wire imbedded in his tongue. Best guess was as a baby where they had him he played with the wire fence and a piece broke off and went in his tongue. Once that was removed the next week when we started working him again he was 1 million times better!

May. 21, 2010, 01:04 PM
OK, sorry guys *sheepish*....I meant I didn't want to use his rodeo bit because it has long, um, shanks. I ride with a little contact, which I can't do with that bit. Does that make sense? In no way in my OP was I dissing his bit, and I understand the port is good for her. Just looking for not shanked options.

May. 21, 2010, 01:55 PM
:)Actually, you CAN ride with contact with a long shanked bit. Light is light whatever the bit.

The item number you need for a myler D is 89-21335. I looked it up, this is a 5 inch. Toklat website.

I am sure there are other companies that make ported d bits, you can ask a tack store.

May. 21, 2010, 02:04 PM
Bought a mare years ago - my 1970s show horse - whose tongue had been split pretty badly. She went best in a roller snaffle and we showed for years in that bit. The scar on her tongue was most of the way across and lots of scar tissue. Worked with her when other snaffle bits did not.

May. 21, 2010, 03:14 PM
I'd maybe try a happy mouth mullen mouth.

May. 21, 2010, 09:40 PM
I know someone who had a horse whose tongue was partially slit from his early roping "training." He did better in a mullen, or a bit that put the pressure more on his bars, like one with a corkscrew.

May. 21, 2010, 09:55 PM
My old Morgan mare had a huge scar on her tongue - as if at some point it had been nearly cut in half, then not stitched. It looked horrid. But she wore a French-link snaffle comfortably and never fussed about having her mouth or tongue handled. Could have been an accident in her youth, or some ugly incident in her early training. She was 11 when I got her.

May. 21, 2010, 11:10 PM
I had a TB mare who had her tongue nearly severed because some dipwad left the tongue tie on. I used a Happy Mouth D ring snaffle which did not seem to bother her.

May. 22, 2010, 09:57 AM
Thanks for the options :). The mare is very sensitive all over and well-trained, so any contact with the shanked bit makes her wonder if I plan on a rollback from her and right-side dismount from me. I leaned over her neck once to pat her and she slammed on the brakes. Just sayin'.

Spoke to him on the phone, and BF would prefer I ride in a bitless option. He tries to stifle his English prejudice, but I can tell he thinks contact is eeeviiiiiiillllll and would prefer she go without...I'm going to scare up a bitless bridle or a hackamore.

May. 22, 2010, 04:51 PM
I've got a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle hanging in my tackroom going unused at the moment. If you feel so inclined to hop on a boat and drive over to Kingston one day you're welcome to borrow it to try it out for a while. I'm not a big fan, and certainly don't think it gives much more control than a side pull, but it's not a bad bitless option.

May. 22, 2010, 06:11 PM
try a short shanked mechanial hackamore bit. less leverage and nothing in her mouth.