Mare biting her tounge?

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Mare biting her tounge?

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    07-22-2012, 07:16 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Mare biting her tounge?

Some of you know about Bree, our fostered OTTB/broodmare who came to us in terrible condition. Now that she's back on the right track, well versed in her ground training, and at a good weight- we've started her under saddle and she's doing beautifully. She's light and responsive to the bit and almost immediately learned how to use her hind end to propell herself and really work well. We're having a bit a problem though that I havent encountered before, and I'm wondering if its a tack problem, or if its training.

We're currently riding her in a full cheek broken snaffle with keepers, which I start a lot of our OTTBs on. However, for one reason or another- as soon as I put the bit into her mouth, she sticks her tounge out to the side so that its sticking out of her lips and just...leaves it there. I don't know if she's trying to get away from the pressure (maybe her tounge is really sensative or she just doesnt like tounge pressure?), if its not fitting her right and hurting her, or if its just an old habit from her racing days. Have any of you had experience with this? Initially I wasnt really worried about it, but I was riding her today and she chomped down on it and made her tounge bleed, and it scared me! I'd hate for her to really injure herself. Do you know what would be causing her to do this, and how I could fix it? I'm perfectly willing to try different bits or whatever if it would help. I do know that hers fits her (5") so that isnt the problem, but should I try something with bar pressure instead?

She also tends to clack her teeth together repeatedly when she's concentrating, which I find really strange. I don't know if it has anything to do with her tounge biting though. At first I thought that she was chewing the bit and that it wasnt fitting her, but its resting solidly in her mouth and her bridle is adjusted correctly.

And just incase someone mentions it, no- I will not be riding her until her tounge has healed ;)
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    07-23-2012, 10:26 AM
Assuming her teeth are okay...

We had a horse like this, an IDxTB whose tongue was big enough to be forced out around his tushes when his mouth was shut. He'd been hunted for years and, frankly, not that well looked after.

We tried allsorts until almost accidentally finding a mullen mouth Rugby Pelham cured the problem most of the time, unless he got excited.

Eventually we stumped up for a low-port Myler comfort snaffle, the one with a really long barrel and short mouthpieces (sorry - can't remember the model) which worked brilliantly.

Good luck finding something suitable because it's a really frustrating problem - you don't know what's discomfort and what's just habit :)
    07-23-2012, 02:50 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Yes, her teeth have been floated twice since coming here and other than a few sharp edges, they were fine.

I was actually thinking about using a mullen mouth, since that's what Noah (another of our finicky OTTBs) likes, but wasnt sure which one to try. The bit that you're talking about is this one, right? Mullen mouth rugby pelham, straight rugby pelham, curved pelham

It looks nice. I've never worked with two reins though, and although I'm an experienced rider with a trainer over me, I'm not really sure about using that. Bree is still extremely green (I've only had her under saddle for about a month now, though I have suspicions that she may of had some saddle training before we got her) and I'd hate to throw too much in at once. Is it possible to use this bit with just the snaffle ring, like with a normal mullen mouth snaffle?

Glad to know this is isnt a problem only we have, I was starting to wonder if we just had one of those 'weird' ones on our hands xD
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    07-23-2012, 03:38 PM
Can't get your link to work but I suspect it's the right one. You can get a plain mullen-mouth eggbutt snaffle if you're worried about extra reins (we tried one - okay, but not as good as the Pelham for some reason).

Most horses don't usually mind a curb chain provided it's correctly adjusted and the horse is gently introduced to its action on the ground. We used a chain (in rubber guard) straight off with our horse but in the past I've used an elastic curb for training if the horse seemed to be backing off with a chain. You can get leather curb 'chains' too.

Two reins just takes practice. It's worth taking a bit of time to learn :)
    07-23-2012, 03:43 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Alright :) I'll probably just try a mullen mouth eggbutt since we already have one that (I think) is a 5", but if that doesnt work, I'll see about purchasing a pelham for her. We need this problem resolved!

As for learning to ride with two reins- I suppose I should xD being a western rider and usually just working with lower level horses, I've never really had the need but its definitely something worth trying. However, I'm pretty sure that me riding Bree two-reined when neither of us have experience with it might end up disasterous! Haha
    07-23-2012, 11:54 PM
Does she have an unusually thick tongue and or shallow palate? Or both? Adding a bit could mean there's no room for her tongue. Have you tried her in just a knotted halter in a round pen or small paddock with no bit in her mouth? She may do just fine.
    07-24-2012, 10:25 AM
Teen Forum Moderator
Theres an idea, Saddlebag! I didnt really think about either of those. I know she has a rather big tounge, but havent realy payed attention to her palate. I'll have to go out and take a look. We had a gelding back a few years ago with a shallow palate and I remember having some problems with him too. Do you have any bit recommendations if she does have one?

As for the rope halter, I have ridden her in one and she's as good as a green horse gets with just that, but if at all possible I would like to have her under bit and bridle at some point. I just don't feel like I can get the same thing off of a rope halter as I can with a bit for some of the more advanced work. And since she's just a foster, I want to have things as well solved as possible so that I can advertise her of a steady broke mare without vices...not eating her own tounge xD
    07-24-2012, 10:57 AM
I would like to be able to suggest a narrower mouthpiece but isn't the mouthpiece on a full cheek fairly thin? One of my favorites is a loose ring snaffle with a sweet iron mouth. This was the only bit that worked on an appendix qh when I realize he had a shallow palate. It's not that I hadn't tried a variety of sizes and styles, it may be that he also preferred the loose rings. The difference was night and day. It could also be that there is more contour/curve on this mouthpiece. They are also inexpensive, under $20. If you do decide to try her in one, I'd just let her wear it around for a week, while you can keep an eye on her. Just let her really get used to it. She will learn to eat hay with a bit in her mouth. Let's hope that with no rein pressure she will keep her tongue in her mouth.
    07-24-2012, 05:49 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Yes, it is fairly narrow, which is the strange thing. That brings me back to the idea that maybe she just doesn't like the tounge pressure, but I'm honestly not sure.

I think we have a loose ring, but I've heard that those tend to pinch if you arent careful. Would a double jointed one be better?

And by just wearing it around, do you mean bridling her and letting her loose in the round pen or something for a few hours a day? That's something that I could do. As of right now with the full cheek, she sticks her tounge out the moment I open her mouth and place the bit inside- but that could be for a variety of reasons. If the mullen doesnt work, I'll definitely try that!
    07-24-2012, 07:22 PM
If you are concerned about pinching put on rubber bit guards. When you use the loops with the full cheek there is less movement of the bit in her mouth. She may prefer something she can move about. Race horses aren't bit broke like saddle horses so that is why this may have been how she dealt with stress or pain. Yes, I'd just let her wear it in the round pen and toss some hay in there and leave her be but keep an eye on her. She's going to have to pull her tongue into her mouth to eat the hay. Is she getting her tongue over the bit?

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