Texas 5 year old TWH with 2 months professional training ridden in Halter Bridle and Western Saddle in Round pen by above average rider.

Question: This gelding is very gentle and calm, but when he gets nervous or wants to go bad, as in company of other faster horses, he sticks his tongue out the right side of
his mouth.  

He still does what I want him to, other than pulling on the reins really hard, but it is very annoying to see this.  I have had his teeth checked and checked.  He has no wolf teeth.  I have tried various bits and he does the same thing with all of them.  I have ridden him in a
mechanical hackamore and he does pretty good, but pulls on me with it too.  Need to get some ideas on what kind of bit that I might try.

From Panelist Laura

Is your horse getting his tongue over the bit?  If so, you can try raising your bridle up a notch to see if that helps.  Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about his tongue hanging out when he is excited.  You can tie the tongue down or tie his mouth shut but if he is otherwise going pretty well for you, I wouldn't mess with tying anything down or shut.  

As you spend more time with riding him, he will learn that he still gets there with other horses and he will get easier to work with.  Just take your time with him & let him gain experience.  You can also slow him up a little and teach him not to pull on the reins so much by giving a little harder pull (tell him to ease it up) followed by loosening your reins a little to let him know that each time he slows down, you ease up on his mouth.  You may have to do this over & over a couple of million times <G>.  Eventually, he will figure out that every time he speeds up you correct him and every time he gives & slows down, he is rewarded with less pressure on his mouth.


From Panelist Lee

You might try a roller bit -- a curb with a low port with a roller inside. This gives a horse with mouth issues something to play with other than his tongue. It might be a bit noisy, however.

The tongue stuff is really not the major issue with this horse, as I see it, however.  It really doesn't matter much if a horse puts his tongue out, except for the esthetics of the situation, as long as he is obedient and light in hand.  Obviously, he is not light in hand if he is lugging on you in any bit and a mechanical hack as well.  He needs to learn to lighten up -- you can help him by refusing to play pulling games with him. If he pulls, you slack off, then take contact again.  Never ride with a steady pull on both reins, but instead pull/slack whenever you ask him to do anything, including slowing down or stopping.

Once he learns that you won't allow him to lean on the reins, his tongue issue may evaporate, since it is a sign of tension that may be relieved once he develops confidence in his mouth and your hands.

Good luck.

Lee Ziegler

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