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Dressage/tongue out

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  • Dressage/tongue out

    At 4 years of age my now 20 year old thorougbred mare had a crash over a fence with her previous owner and suffered a severe gash on the left side of her mouth which required stitches. She started hanging her tongue out ever since and there is also an indentation where the stitches were. We have had a good career as a hunter and are now learning dressage. Have been to three shows with no comment or mark down from first judge; second show it was mentioned frequently and were marked down; third show judge asked about tongue and had great scores and no markdown. She hangs her tongue out even without the bit. Is it proper to inform judge before test why she hangs her tongue out? I am not discouraged by this and will keep showing; we have been together a long time. Just wondering if anyone has any input.

  • #2
    I had a horse with a similar problem, and we got dinged for it in almost every test we ever did. Even if you inform the judge beforehand, the problem is that the rules specifically list the tongue being out as a serious fault, so I'm not sure it'll make any difference.

    DR 116.2a:
    Putting out the tongue, keeping it above the bit or drawing it up altogether, as well as grinding the teeth or agitation of the tail, are mostly signs of nervousness, tension or resistance on the part of the horse and must be taken into account by the judges in their marks for every movement concerned, as well as in the collective mark for “submission”.


    • #3
      What about getting something from your vet documenting the reason for the tongue being out?
      "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


      • #4
        I'd tell the judges when possible. A good judge, once notified, will watch and see if it's tension or from the problem you describe to them.
        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


        • #5
          Check the FEI new 'rules' about mouth problems.
          Things are evolving and you might not be marked down that much if your riding and contact is correct.

          I wonder if with a vet note you could get some sort of an exemption or something for that tongue problem?...


          • #6
            Originally posted by AlterBy View Post
            Check the FEI new 'rules' about mouth problems.
            Things are evolving and you might not be marked down that much if your riding and contact is correct.

            I wonder if with a vet note you could get some sort of an exemption or something for that tongue problem?...
            They don't make those sorts of exemptions. Neither should they. Really, if your horse has an issue that makes it not fit within the rules, then that's your tough luck and you don't have to show it. I think that's actually better than making exceptions for every horse that comes along. If mine is a little off from a permanent problem, but it doesn't hurt him and he doesn't need injections or drugs, should I go in and not get marked down for a lame looking horse? Maybe someone else will come along and use the same excuse and get a crooked vet to back them up, but the horse really is lame and in pain? Where would that line be drawn?

            In this situation, the rider can mention it to the judge and accept the consequences. I the judge thinks it looks more medical and not tension related, then they can allow, but if not, then they get marked down. That's the risk. That's what happens when your horse doesn't conform to the rules.

            In the end, we should all have sound horses going in the ring and ones that are showing the art of dressage (meaning no major and permanent looking tension from bad training, etc.).
            "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"