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Horse Behavior and Training

Getting used to the bit


What is the best way to train a horse to gets used to the bit, both from the ground and riding it? What is the reason when a horse sticks the tongue out while riding - out between the front teeth / out the side of the mouth?

Kicki -- Sweden
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed

It could be any number of reasons.
Usually because it is uncomfortable in some way and he tries to either shift the bit, or escape whatever it is that makes it uncomfortable. Then again, I know horses who stick their tongue out when they concentrate. (As a dressage judge I need to determine if it disturbs the ride or not.)
A horse that is new to the bit will probably want to play with it and figure it all out, should settle soon enough if it doesn't find it too bothersome.
You should check that the bit isn't too large (or small!) for his mouth. Also check that the sidestrap isn't too short or too long.
When you pull at one ring the joint should never travel too far to the side in the horse's mouth.
A snaffle (one joint) can angle up into his palate or pinch the tongue.
A double jointed snaffle - if too long - can end up with the joint banging into his jaw bone or pinch the tongue.
If too small, all bits will pinch the corners of the mouth.
Canine teeth - small as they are - can cause a lot of trouble if they are in contact with any bit. (Inflammations, cracks and fissures - even getting knocked off!) Ask a vet to get rid of them.
Some horses have big tongues and narrow mouths which makes fitting a bit between them really hard.
Personally, I like the double-jointed snaffle with egg-rings that doesn't move. No pinching or sticking up in the palate. Nor can they shift the bit around too much.
Monty also have a nice copper/iron-bit!
NB! Whenever you deal with soft metals in conjunction with a harder - check the bit often that the hard metal doesn't create sharp edges where it chafes against the softer metal!
I hope that was of some help. :)

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed

sorry to be pedantic but you mention canine teeth, I think you mean woolf teeth. they are small teeth located just in front of the molars. they are often removed. canine teeth are a lot larger and not easily removed, they sit further forward in the mouth and do not often cause a problem :-)