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horse's mouth open in the hunters?

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  • horse's mouth open in the hunters?

    If a horse goes with his mouth open in the hunters (no tongue out) is that a major fault?

  • #2
    Depends on how the horse jumps and what company it is in.

    In my limited experience, if the open mouth is a sign of resistance (usually accompanied by pinned ears, sour expression and a wringing tail to various degrees), then yes, that would count in a big way in the hunters.


    • Original Poster

      No ear pinning, no tail swishing, could it still be competitive at A shows?


      • #4
        It's a tie breaker, if the horse doesn't do anything else wrong.


        • #5
          My horse has been knocked down for open mouth. He doesn't swish his tail or pin his ears.
          All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day.


          • #6
            not to hijack, what about a horse that sticks his tongue out? Ears forward, no tail swishing, happiest ammie-friendly expression on his face but when he is relaxed his pokes his tongue out to the side? My baby has done this from day one and at first we thought it was a nervous habit, but now we've come to realize he does it when he is relaxed. Not clue if it will go away....
            "I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"



            • #7
              Again, tongue sticking out, it's a tie breaker.

              At a AA level show, the mouth open all the time will kill you as the level of competition gives the judge many other good trips to choose from. The tongue sticking out less so but still a judges preference.

              Locals would depend on the level of competition and the quality of your own trip compared to them.

              Personally, and it is just my own preference, I hate a gapping mouth on any horse and I do not see too many in the Hunters at any level, have seen a few tongues sticking out. No gappy mouths. Your trip would have to be just about perfect before I'd use you.

              Try to get rid of it, school in a flash at home, change bits. Something.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


              • #8
                It definitely breaks up the presentation, and the canter certainly isn't as fluid as it could be if the horse is opening it's mouth. One of the criteria for hunter judging is manners, and also way of going.

                Why is it opening it's mouth? too much bit? dental issue?green? Ottb?

                If it's a green horse, and it's chewing/ licking that's a different then gaping it's mouth open.

                Just to switch gears; in another world (i.e stock seat/ reining), opening of the mouth is considered a major fault. I am not invloved too much there; but was just mentioning it for persepctive.

                Now, I agree with the poster who talked about quality and company. If this is a really nice horse that goes really well in moderate company; it's class will overshadow a minor mouth. However, if this is a mediocre horse is good company; the mouth may hurt it; unless you are super accurate.

                For the tongue horse... isn't that funny? It's distracting for sure. I have seen it, but the one or two horses I knew of that did it were in the jumper ring.


                • #9
                  The tongue thing doesn't bother me too much, mostly because I had a sweet horse when I was a kid who would go around with his tongue out.

                  Many judges don't care for it. Again, a tie breaker that will depend on the company you're in.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mrsbradbury View Post
                    Just to switch gears; in another world (i.e stock seat/ reining), opening of the mouth is considered a major fault. I am not invloved too much there; but was just mentioning it for persepctive.
                    Dressage too
                    Horses which get their tongues over the
                    bit or perform with an open mouth shall be marked down.

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                    • #11
                      Does anyone have the books by Anna Jane White-Mullin or Randy Roy on judging hunters? What does it say in them?


                      • #12
                        Do not have them handy but...it is a fault. Plain and simple. Cannot think of any discipline (or Eq) that does not mark it down.

                        The only discussion is how much it would knock you down and that just depends on what else is in the ring and what their trips are like.

                        In a hack, you'd have to be on a 10 mover against a bunch of 7's to get the blue.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                        • #13
                          So what can you do to close the mouth?? I have a mare that likes to go around with her mouth open and sort of wagging her tongue a little - she seems to do this when stressed -- she also does it while waiting for her feed or just while she is standing around - she has been throughly checked out by vet, chiro and dentist - nobody can find anything physical, I've tried literally 100's of bits - she goes best in a french link D -- she doesn't do it all the time and not usually when jumping -- always in the hack - sometimes she cocks her head -cranking noseband doesn't do anything nor does putting a flash attachment on while schooling - it will stop her but she just goes back to it in ring -- she is a nice mover and a sweetheart otherwise but has done this mouth business since she was a baby.......any ideas on how to stop it???


                          • #14
                            Jumpers? Even there, they could get so busy fooling with the bit they miss something-like a back rail.

                            Seriously, some of them just won't stop and it will always hurt their chances.

                            You might try an old cowboy trick-use a bit of baling twine or shoelace and tie a plain old snaffle bit into the lower rings of the halter. Let the horse wear it in the stall 24/7-I would not turn out in it but if they are in a small pen, you can do it there.

                            Do NOT adjust it with the 2 wrinkles, drop it to where it is just touching the corners of the mouth.

                            Old thinking is they will learn to stop fiddling with it and learn to pick it up and hold it. There is alot of logic there, we stick this in their mouths for 45 minutes 3 or 4 times a week and expect them to be comfortable, they are not and keep trying to spit it out.

                            Now, I expect 10 people to post this is stupid/dangerous/whatever. But if nothing else seems to be working, you bought it specifically to show and you will never get far with this fault? I've done this with 2 of mine and it WORKS if anything is going to fix it.

                            One other thing you can try is every bit you can get your hands on or moving the bit up or down in the horse's mouth. Many like that bit a little higher or lower then the standard two wrinkles as it just suits them better.

                            My own Hunter is a little shallow mouthed and she goes about a hole looser. She will fuss if she feels it's too tight.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                            • #15
                              If you put peanut butter in her mouth right before her trip, will she keep it in long enough to jump her 8 fences? They also make rubber tongue depressers/ports for bits- its a cheap thing to try.


                              • Original Poster



                                • #17
                                  I just looked briefly through my A. J. White-Mullin manual and couldn't find anything about the mouth being open while judging hunters. I am certainly no judge, but personally, if the horse looks happy, content and competent at his job, and puts in the best trip, he should come out on top. If there is nothing medically wrong to cause the gaping, I don't think it would bother me. If there is some other sign of discomfort, such as tail swishing, pinning of ears, hollowness through back, etc. it may be a different situation. Of course, this is just my opinion, and there are surely as many of those as there are members of this board. Mine is only one
                                  ~*Friend of bar.ka*~


                                  • #18
                                    I just went to a Myler bit clinic were they had a horse doing the same thing yours does. After trying a few different bits, they found one that almost eliminated it. Wasn't completely cured but amazingly better, and they seemed to think she would get even better. Dale Myler did the clinic and picked the bits to try and made sure the were properly adjusted. It would be interesting if you could find one of those clinics and have Dale bit your horse.
                                    ~*Adult Pony Rider Clique*~


                                    • #19
                                      Horses that stick their tongues out are evading tongue pressure typically cased by mouthpieces that collapse onto the tongue. We have all been taught that a snaffle bit with a jointed mouthpiece is gentle when in fact it is a pretty tough bit meant for trainers hands.

                                      Even peanut bits, while softer to the horse, are still tongue pressure bits and will be resisted after a while.

                                      It is really hard to see from the ground but tons of horses learns to suck their tongues UP in their throat to avoid tongue pressure. this means that they are more willing to cut off part of their air flow than to take the pinch! Cutting of air flow in a hunter who has to work hard to go around is not a good idea....Ever see a horse that gets hotter the more it gets worked?? Cutting off airflow can make some panic.

                                      A port will free up the tongue. Lots of times that tongue will come right back in if you change the shape of the mouthpiece.

                                      Dale Myler has YouTube videos up that talk about all of this they are free obviously and very informative and cheaper than having him bit your horse.

                                      Plus you can rent bits to test now. Good luck!!

                                      His concepts apply to all bits...


                                      • #20
                                        My thoughts are these:

                                        New bit?
                                        Schooling with a Flash?
                                        Is your noseband too tight?

                                        Just my initial thinkings.