Tongue over bit? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Tongue over bit?

What are the most commons reasons for horses putting their tongue over the bit, playing with their tongue while being worked, etc?
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 12:33 AM
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What I learned was, when the roof of the horses mouth gets 'jabbed' by the hinge of a single jointed snaffle, it causes pain, and so the horse will put its tongue over the bit to eliviate said pain. It's like sitting in an uncomfortable chair, we move and shift to change to location of the pain, the horse is doing the same sort of thing with his tongue.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 12:44 AM
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When I first started using a bit on my mare she would get her tongue over it because she was mouthing a lot while getting used to it. It only took a month or so and she stopped doing it.

I'm sure there are other causes besides just being mouthy, but I dont know what they are.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 06:23 AM
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Here is a tongue tie used by many famous race horses such as Victory Gallop, Empire Maker and Unbridled. They are all said to have long tongues and their trainers claim that long tongued horses have a tendancy to play more with the bit using their tongues and actually do use tongue over bit to relieve pressure on the roof of their mouth., thus the tie.
As you can see in the picture it doesnt stop the playing with the tongue
The article written by was an interesting read as they were saying almost every great running horse has the long tongue and backed up their theory by showing pictures of the Greats....all with their tongues hanging out playing. Many of these horses even loved to have their tongues pulled. Go Figure.

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post #5 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 07:02 AM
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There can be multiple reasons for horses putting their tongue over the bit - its something you need to address as it can turn into a dangerous issue, you have very little control once the tongue is over the bit, and you can also cause great damage to the mouth if you try to pull back on the underside of the tongue.

Check that the bit is not hanging too low in the mouth. Discomfort with the type of bit is another factor, if you are using a single jointed bit, try a double jointed (french snaffle for example). Crookedness caused by discomfort elsewhere in the body, a horse may tilt the poll slightly to one side and bring the tongue over the bit showing discomfort and pain in other others. Dental issues. Crookedness and other issues caused by poor riding, if you are crooked, pulling on one rein, pulling back on both reins, jabbing the horse accidentally in the mouth etc. it is understandable that the horse may put its tongue over the bit. Evasion of contact in the bridle.

Address the root of the problem. Some will put a drop or flash noseband on strapped tight to clamp the jaw shut so the tongue physically cannot go over the bit. Please don't do this!
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 09:11 AM
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Tongue over the bit frequently means the bit is not comfortable. Like Kayty mentioned, it could be adjusted wrong or it could just not be the right bit for the horse.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 09:37 AM
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I agree that it sounds like the bit is causing some sort of discomfort. Have the vet out to check her teeth, and if they are good then just try different types of bits. Every horse responds to a different kind of bit and its best to try as many different bits as possible until you find one that your horse likes and responds well to. I have about 40 different bits in my tack box and every time I get a new horse or have a different one come out for training I try different ones until I find one that the horse responds well to. Don't get frustrated if it take a while to find one. That is just the way it is with some horses.
Good luck.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, it is not my personal horse who does this, but thanks for all the tips. I've seen it a lot at Arab shows and at the barn where I work, there's a couple horses who play with their tongues just standing in crossties, and probably about 5-7 that when being worked, flip their tongue over and under the bit/stick tongue out of their mouth/suck it back.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-11-2014, 04:33 PM
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It could possibly be that the horse likes playing around with the bit. My first trainer had a horse that put his tongue over the bit so she got this thing (dont know what its called) i will try get a pic in the post..

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-11-2014, 04:33 PM
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^that might help because he will play with the thing in the middle instead of playing with the actual bit :)
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