Monday, August 10, 2009

Bits... damn bits!

So I've been having bit issues with Jasper since I got him in early April. Mainly that he sticks his tongue over the bit and leaves it there. He has a small mouth, very low, flat palate and a huge tongue. When I put a bit in his mouth and get him to stick his tongue under it, his tongue is so thick and his palate is so low the bit sits crammed into his palate by his tongue. He either sticks his tongue on top of it or sucks his tongue back so only the very tip is under the bit.

I've tried regular snaffles (bad), a regular KK (really bad, not sure why other than I think it was waaaaaay too think), 3-piece bits and, well, finally bought a Myler Loose Ring Comfort Snaffle because it was the thinnest bit I could find. That one has been the least bad so far but it's not great. " The Comfort Snaffle features allows the rider to isolate one side of the bit for bending, balancing, and lifting a shoulder. With a special "no-pinch" barrel and curved mouthpiece that applies firm pressure—not pain—on the tongue"
He seems to go OK in it other than his tongue is over it the whole time and every now and then he has these 'freak out' moments where he throws his head down and violently shakes it. It's like he gets pinched or something, although I can't figure out how this bit could possibly pinch. His tongue really does jam it into the roof of his mouth though (when I force it under) and the middle piece looks like it pokes him, especially on the corners.

At Rebecca Farms a great dressage trainer suggested the Sprenger Dynamic RS Loose Ring Snaffle:
It's the newest version of the Sprenger KK. The 'bean' in the middle is turned 45 degrees and the bars are arched. It's supposed to form to the shape of the horse's mouth relieving pressure points and sitting nicely on the tongue. She said she had a horse with the same mouth problems as Jasper and this bit was a miracle. And the cost? $117 plus shipping, of course. Gaaaak!!!

I bought it with some money I earned working overtime. I tried it today. He seemed to go just fine in it, he's had a week off so I didn't push real hard, but he seemed pretty soft. I was excited and got off to see what was going on inside his mouth... and that darn tongue was sitting on top of it as usual.

I've decided I need to teach him how to hold his tongue under the bit. Right? Don't I? I tried the rubber bit port:
This is wrapped around the center of the bit and the depressor is supposed to hold the tongue down. Jasper got his tongue over it, shoved it to the side of his mouth, and chewed it up.

I can try tying his tongue down which I'm a little nervous to do. I've never seen it done and I would hate to do it wrong, or get it too tight.

My other options (as far as I can tell) are these 2 bits, the Tongue Bit:
Or the Spoon Bit:

I like them because they're 3 pieces. I'm not crazy about either of them just because they are pretty thick in comparison to what I've been using. Plus they're not legal for dressage... but my goal would be to teach him to go with his tongue under the bit and then switch back to the Sprenger Ultra.

My last choice is to start riding in a hackamore...

Any suggestions?



jacksonsgrrl said...

I have absolutely nothing to say as I am laughing so hard!!! (sorry.) I can just imagine Jasper with his tongue hanging over all the place and you anxiously getting off to see if your new $130 bit worked.... I totally got the giggles. OK. That does sound super frustrating tho'. I sure hope you can send the damn thing back. Some of those bits you are thinking of trying and the thing he chewed up look like medieval torture devices don't they? Poor Jasper! He can't help it he has a funky palate and HUGE tongue. :) I probably would try to go bitless if all your further attempts are thwarted, tho' later on in XC that sounds tricky!!! But, hey, maybe there are folks out there riding bitless to those HUGE fences you posted at R. Farms all the time. I, personally wouldn't want to be one of them!!! HEE HEE! But I would love to ride that course!!! Sweet as!

Meghan said...

I would go bitless. I've heard lots of good things about the Bitless Bridle (, and Jessica Jahiel has a lot of information about bits and bitless options on her HORSE-SENSE archives (

The Pughs said...

duct tape

Anonymous said...

What about a waterford bit?

They would form to the shape of his mouth and maybe make him more comfortable? I am fairly sure they are legal for dressage, they aren't harsh as they don't pinch or really have any leverage, but then you have the problems of brakes. IDK, just a thought.


allhorsestuff said...

I admit..when I saw the Bit Heading...I ran over here with a click!

I too have been really frustrated with Bits!!!
My mare has a VERY small mouth and her tounge always just sticks out of her mouth. Not ness over the bit my problem and is very senitive.
The mullen worked for a while... but,it is waaay too thick, her toungue sticks OUT of her Mouth again!

The "Fulmer Full cheek" is my favorite for our dressage riding...but for the trail..she gets very headstrong and the nut cracker effect of the thin&small snaffle makes her go up...not good.

I found a Sprenger "Waterford" locally. I actually did not know what the name was, and described it to "20 meter Circle of Life" friend..she told me that name...I am about to post a picture of it.

WA Loves it..foams and is easy going...she recently got going a bit too -too fast in a hand gallop and I easily stopped her with a nice short bridge in the reins and one hand lifted slightly.

It seems to be an answer for us and was only about $40

Good bit hunting!

Albigears said...

Medieval torture devices... they really do look that way don't they?

I researched Waterford bits quite a bit, but resisted trying one because they look so thick. I like the idea of it though, and so far there haven't been any braking problems. I think that MAYBE I just need to teach him where to put his tongue.

I'll check out the bitless options...

Anonymous said...

Bitless is an option, but if I remember right, you have to have a bit of some sort in their mouths for dressage. I can't remember exactly though.


allhorsestuff said...

Me again..My Waterford does not seem too thick ,. That was why I got it...and the fact that it can move and roll because of the chain effect the links have. Posting a picture..maybe I will do that inside the mouth shot creative you are...can't believe his tounge!!!!