Friday 4 May 2018

(Un)Happy Tongue

I'm pretty sure that the bit I'm using for Cisco is not "the" bit.

He definitely did not like the single jointed eggbutt I first tried with him. He put his tongue constantly over the bit.

 I then tried a couple of double jointed snaffles - a french-link (with a rotating link) and the Neue Schule Verbindend. He rooted down really badly with both of these bits. He also salivated a ton - which I read could mean that he wasn't moving his tongue to swallow. I also tried Phantom's Neue Schule Tranz Angled Lozenge Baucher - that was also a definite no.
All screenshots taken while warming up at a walk on a light contact.

Because of that, I tried a Myler Low Port Comfort Snaffle. It has a low port that gives the tongue some space to move around.

It's been the best so far. But he is still very fussy with his mouth - opens it, moves his tongue around, pushes his head forward, and roots down when stressed. So I don't think he's overly comfortable with it still.

How many rides does it take for them to "accept the bit"? I think we should be past that stage, so I'm looking for other options.

I think I'm going to try a Bombers Happy Tongue bit next.
The loose ring version
From the Bombers website:
The Loose Ring allows for immediate release and relief from tongue and bar pressure. The bit is immediately reset to a neutral position in the horse's mouth.
The Happy Tongue is a solid mouth piece. It is curved and ported to give tongue relief. The Happy Tongue would be a good place to start if your horse is:
  • Shaking its head - I would say Cisco doesn't do this
  • Sticking its tongue out - definitely yes
  • Sucking its tongue back and as a result making an intermittent coughing noise - ding ding ding new thing 
  • Trying to put its tongue over the bit - for sure
  • Going behind the bit to avoid the contact - on occasion his nose goes towards his chest
  • Snatching the reins forward and down - when stressed it goes from up to down
The rider will know immediately if this is the correct bit, as a horse with a sensitive tongue will finally begin to work into, and accept the contact. Changing the cheekpieces would then allow the rider to adjust the level of control.

The coughing thing - he's had an occasional cough lately. Now, I've heard it when he's loose as well as under saddle, so I'm not totally convinced that it's bit related. But when he has done it under saddle it seems to be when he is stressed and busier with his mouth. This is the first reference I've seen to a cough possibly being bit related which I find interesting. 

The bit has received many favourable reviews and apparently is a top seller. I'm not sure about dressage legality (it's very similar to the HS Comfort Mouth Snaffle, which is legal in Canada), but that's not something I'm worried about.
It's not a cheap bit, but it's not Herm Sprenger KK bit pricing either. There's a place in my province that has some coming in and they're $135. They are due to arrive in 3-4 weeks so hopefully I will have a miracle solution in about a month. (I won't be surprised if it turns into another ornament though.)

Has anyone out there in blogland tried this bit before?


  1. I'm super interested in the bomber bits, I handled some at Rolex last year. Hopefully it works for him!

    1. I've seen them but never really looked at them. I only knew that they were blue and expensive!

  2. ooh interesting! i haven't used that one, but my horse is going in a Myler comfort snaffle right now that i found on the cheap on ebay. i'm definitely all aboard the idea of investing in good bits (esp those that retain their value on ebay so i can resell if needed!), tho it also sucks if they don't work. hopefully this is the one!

    1. My bit bag consists of a variety of different snaffles, most double jointed with different joints. I don't plan to ever sell them. I'm much more likely to foist one into someone's hands to make them try it on their horse.

  3. My mule hated the Myler comfort snaffle, but loved the Shires ported mullen mouth, which is very similar to the Bombers bit. I have been thinking about getting the bombers because they come in baucher and eggbutt in addition to loose ring.

    1. I decided to go with the loose ring version because it says that it immediately resets to neutral position. No idea if this will be the right decision!

  4. Haven't used that one but Carlos used to slip his tongue over the bit and I got him a ported pelham with a copper roller. That did the trick, he loved to play with the roller all day