Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bit FAIL

Two years later and Jasper still sticks his tongue over the bit. I've been on every horse chat board known to mankind and no one seems to have any real solutions other than tying his tongue down. I've tightened his bridle up, made it loose, used those rubber ports, and tried all kinds of humane bits for his pathetically small mouth. He has a nice thin KK Ultra ($ca-CHING$), a nice thin French Link, and even a Myler. He goes about the same in all of them, nice and light with his tongue sticking in and out of the side of his mouth. I don't use nosebands other than for shows. I don't believe in clamping horses' mouths shut and it's not a solution to the root of the problem. Plus he gets his tongue over the bit with the anyway, they just don't stick out of his mouth as far. (I use a flash for dressage).

I found this bit and decided to give it a try. It's a 3 piece bit with a piece that sits on top of his tongue so he has to keep it in place. I put it on pretty snug.


It looks like a big D-ring when it's on.

He chomped and chomped at it trying to get his tongue over the top. After awhile I got on and walked and trotted around on a loose rein. Gradually I took up pressure on the reins and he slowed waaaaaay down, to the point I was pony kicking. A thoroughbred. We went around like this for a while and I finally asked him to stop.

What? What is that sticking out of the side of his mouth?

I jumped off.



Fail.

15 comments:

Kate said...

I have an idea - it may not work - it may be that due to the shape of his mouth or size of his tongue that he needs more room for his tongue and all the various bits put too much pressure on his tongue and he's just trying to tell you that.

Give one of the ported snaffles a try - I'll be back in a minute with a link to a picture of what I mean - I use a Mylar.

Kate said...

Here you go:

ayearwithhorses.blogspot.com/2010/05/20-ticks-and-maisie-gets-back-to-work.html

Good luck!

Val said...

I was just wondering if a ported bit might help, but did not know the type Kate suggested. I think that is a very good suggestion.

If I may channel my teacher for a moment, she would probably suggest trying a higher hand position so that the bit works in the corners of the mouth instead of on the tongue or bars.

That is a frustrating problem, and I commend you for not securing his mouth shut. However, a regular noseband fitted with a enough room to move his jaw and chew may ease the pressure on his jaw as some pressure will be transferred to the noseband. My horse goes in a noseband with enough room to chew, swallow, and (oh the horrors!) stick his tongue out to lick his lips if he chooses. :)

Sara said...

Have you thought of using an english style hackamore on him? I know it sounds odd, but I have seen people do well in cross country with it. I would bet it isn't legal in the dressage ring though, but it could at least give you an option for cross country/stadium and trails. That way he could have nothing is his npoor small mouth. Definitly kudos to you for not tying his poor tongue down!!

Albigears said...

OK, to be honest I don't understand the ported bit thing. When I look in his mouth, his tongue is squished up against the roof of his mouth with no space in between. When I stick a bit in there, it's mashed between his tongue and the roof of his mouth. It doesn't seem to me like it would matter what shape it was if there's no room for it?? How exactly do the ported bits relieve tongue pressure?

I've considered a hackamore but they're not legal for dressage.

Albigears said...

I spent 10 minutes with him yesterday after I put his bridle on, just standing there and sticking his tongue back under the bit. He won't leave it there for a second. I think riding with higher hands is a great thing to try once I can get the tongue thing figured out!

Dom said...

The standardbreds, like the tb's, are used to having their tongues tied so I get a LOT of horses who stick their tongues over at first. Sir Chip was a particularly tricky one. Ported bits, etc. didn't do anything to keep his tongue in place. I was against using a flash for the same reasons you mentioned, but I finally tried it. It took a few times of schooling him in a French link with the flash on (not very tight) for him to keep his tongue under for ten minutes. When he did that, I ended the session, released the flash, and praised him. Each day we aimed for longer sessions. A couple weeks later, he just kept his tongue under the bit and I never needed a flash again. His adopter would never guess he had a problem. I've found that LESS bit is better for a horse who plays with his tongue and that flash used CORRECTLY will fix the problem before bit changes.

Deered said...

have a look at the 'Australian noseband' basically when the horse opens it's mouth to put the tongue over the bit it holds the bit on the roof of the mouth. I had an ottb that did the tongue over the bit all the time - I worked her with this noseband on, until she worked out that she couldn't get her tongue over the bit, then kept it on for another few weeks with a standard cavesson on. The cavesson was not on tight. I then was able to work and compete her in a cavesson until she started getting up to 1m+ showjumping, then she started to open her mouth and try to run through the bit to get to the jumps faster...apparently often I liked to go too slow - sespite often being the quickest on course! A loose drop noseband that was only used in competition fixed that.

Deered said...

Oh, and the bit I used was a reasonably thin (she had a small mouth) plain snaffle - she went a lot worse in a french link.

achieve1dream said...

If a bit is that uncomfortable for him I'd just go for a bitless bridle . . . however I don't compete, so I don't know what to suggest for competitions. I hope you find a solution. That must be really frustrating.

Checkmark115 said...

my OTTB stuck his tongue out till I used a flash. Its not very tight, almost 2 fingers can go in there and he goes along happily like that. He is in a french link too,he was worse with regular bits.
I third (?) the hackamore. I recently got one for my horse to go stadium in, and its amazing!

Jenny said...

It might be due to the size of his mouth and/or tongue.... my horse has a very long tongue, which leaves little room for the bit so we use a very thin loose-ring French Link snaffle. He absolutely hates the Myler bits....
Have you considered one of the Rambo/Micklem bridles? They're great because they are designed to be comfortable for the horse, we use one for one of our geldings and it's great!
Also... a well-fitting caveson noseband actually helps displace some of the pressure that the rider puts (via the reins & bit) on the horse's jaw...

Albigears said...

I'll have to look into the Australian Nosebands, can you get them anywhere here in the US? It kind of seems like it would pull the sides of the bit up, but would leave the rest to hang down on his tongue. It looks to me like it would work better if you used a solid bit rather than a jointed one.

Do the Micklem bridles hold the bit in a different position than a regular bridle??

Kate said...

Aww, at least he's cute!

Deered said...

If your bit is fitted correctly and the noseband is fitted correctly the bit doesn't hand down in the middle. Try racing gear suppliers to purchase them. I used it with a thin jointed snaffle and it worked brilliantly. They were intially developed for racehorses, and used with jointed snaffles.