Non-USA, 5 year old Tennessee Walking Horse ridden in  mullen and tennessean saddle in field, pastures, pens by intermediate rider.

Question: Just last night I noticed that my horse was capable of slipping his tongue over his bit, which could possibly explain a lot of things that are going on with us, like his sudden
inability to back or whoa properly.  He seems to be able to do it whenever he feels like it (slip it over and under).  I didn't think the bit was too big for him or fit him improperly but now I'm not sure.  It is a simple solid mullen mouth, just slightly curved, quite thick with no curb, no shanks.  Maybe he's carrying it too low on his tongue?  I have it sized to just make his mouth slightly wrinkle at the sides.  Bitting seems to be my biggest challenge.  He was trained with a broken snaffle on O rings. I'm thinking of returning to that bitting method.  I need your advice.



From Panelsit Erica

Mullen mouth snaffles can be harder on a horse who is uncomfortable with much pressure on their tongue. If he went well in a broken mouth snaffle without slipping his tongue over it, then I would definitely return to that. 

Although, I personally like eggbutt vs loose ring as there isn't the chance of a horse getting it's lips pinched with the rings.

Erica Frei



From Panelist Liz

Hi,
I think your idea to take him back to a broken mouth piece snaffle would be a good one and see if this is still a problem. I would also have his teeth checked for possible maintenance.

You may also want to find some one very good that understands the structure of a horses mouth to also look and see what type mouth this horse has such as low or high roof, thick thin tongue and so on all these factor do figure in when bitting up our horses.

Good luck
Elizabeth



From Panelist Lee

Although many horses work well in mullen mouthpieces, some do not like them, and will evade them by putting their tongues over them as yours does. Instead of going back to an O ring, which he will also be able to slip under his tongue, you might want to try a roller bit.  The Foreman Pelham with a roller allows you to continue with no leverage if that is the way you prefer to ride.  This gives the horse something socially acceptable to play with,
and the roller tends to keep his tongue under the bit.  This style bit is available from several  catalogues and online as well.  Fit the bit so that one fold is at each corner of his mouth, not tighter or lower.  To tell if the bit you are using fits, check to see that the sidepieces are close to but not tight against his lips, about 1/8 inch space between his mouth and the sidepiece.

Hope this helps.

Lee Ziegler
 
 
 
 
 

Back to main page
Ask a Trainer