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What to do about tongue over the bit

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  • What to do about tongue over the bit

    A customer brought me a cute large pony to get going un der saddle for her. He was started a year ago by a local 'cowboy" type guy who seems to have done ok as far as saddling and getting on board but the horse has had no work since so starting basically from scratch. I put him in the long lines with a surcingle and rubber snaffle and though he listened well to giddy up and whoa, he spent the entire time working on getting his tongue over the bit like it was his life's work! His teeth had been done recently and the bit was fitted correctly. Any suggestions to get him to stop? (I have worked with lots of horses over the years but never had one so detirmined to do this!)

  • #2
    Try a Mullen mouth bit with a high port . Ports are not evil- that's part of what they do. You can also try adjusting the bit higher in the mouth. Tying the tongue works but only when it's tied, teaches nothing and is hard to do discreetly at a show where it would be frowned upon.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • #3
      I'd give it a few more sessions of working with him and try a couple different snaffle mouthpieces. If he's never really worn a bit or done work, he may just get over it on his own. My Arab was really obnoxious with a bit when I started him. After a couple months, he got over it and works quite nicely on the bit now.


      • #4
        Originally posted by candysgirl View Post
        I'd give it a few more sessions of working with him and try a couple different snaffle mouthpieces. If he's never really worn a bit or done work, he may just get over it on his own. My Arab was really obnoxious with a bit when I started him. After a couple months, he got over it and works quite nicely on the bit now.
        Horses that put their tongues over the bit are telling you a tongue pressure bit is not comfortable. Ports are softer as they free up the tongue. Truly. go rent a Myler 33 mouthpiece you will be amazed and happy


        • #5
          I would say try something with a port, something a little thinner, or a french link. If none of these work, a Myler is a good choice, and there's a also this weird bit that a horse at my barn has with a strange sort of dangling metal flap thing, that seems to help with him, I'll get a picture of it if I can.


          • Original Poster

            Good suggestions all, thanks! I did consider the mullen mouth but figured it may be easier to get his tongue over that shape and so leaning more towards the Myler or a French link. I will let you all know what works out best!


            • #7
              Is he trying to get it over his tongue or just playing with the bit. I've known a few that play with it in their mouth when they are bored. My guy will play with his as sson as I put it in until he has me on him or yes, when i let him graze with it while going up to the ring. A port maybe good if he is really trying to get his tongue over it.
              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


              • #8
                I have had good luck using a keyed bit (snaffle with keys on the center link--used for young horses) to keep them from getting their tongue over the bit. For some reason, they seem to like the keys and it keeps them quiet with their mouths.


                • #9
                  Check out the Neue Schule bits my horses have chosen the Verbindend. I have never had a bit positively change a group of horses connection and carriage the way the Verbindend has.


                  • #10
                    A ported snaffle is what I would try first. Even one of the Nathe ones, (very soft bits made of a durable, but slightly flexible plastic). This was one of the things a young warmblood at our barn did when she came back from the breaker's. He did a lovely job with her (although he rides western, she came back calm with a canter and trot that were jaw-dropping!) but he rode her in western tack, and when we put a snaffle on her, she immediately popped her tongue over. She is quite happy and goes quite well with the port, though.

                    Ports aren't evil, just not popular right now. They have their place, and for some horses seem to be much more comfortable than "nice" French link snaffles.

                    Whatever works for the individual horse is fine with me.


                    • #11
                      It's rare that I meet a horse with enough room for a rubber snaffle. I'd try a thinner mouth piece or a port
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • Original Poster

                        I tried a Myler and he still got his tounge over until I put it what I feel was too high in his mouth. It wa also too sharp for him-over reacted to rein pressure. I have a French link rubber snaffle which is working pretty well though it still needs to be pretty high in his mouth. I think as he gets more into work he will start to lose focus on playing with the bit. He is a very nice pony and I am enjoying working with him.


                        • #13
                          Start by tightening the noseband. Sometimes that's enough.


                          • #14
                            Have you thought about trying a hackamore on him?


                            • #15
                              1. Did he look uncomfortable in his eye and body with the bit "too high?"
                              2. Was the bit touching his molars when placed that high?

                              It may be that he has a high bit seat
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble


                              • #16
                                There is a rubber "port" attachment that can be placed in the center of any bit . It looks like a large pacifier and if you are not sure how to use it ask anyone that is familiar. The other bit I might try is a waterford it looks like a series of ball bearings strung together. It lays across the horses' tongue and displaces pressure equally across the lips tongue and bars and is not easily slipped under the horses' tongue.