Horse gets his tounge over the bit

Hi. My horse gets his tongue over the bit a lot sometimes 3 times a ride. Now I am riding him in a rubber French link bit with a tight flash. I don’t want any severe bits or attachments that could hurt him. His previous owners abused his mouth so he is very sensitive in the mouth. If you have any bit suggestions or attachments that are gentle please let me know.

I’ve had a couple do this. First…raise the bit higher in his mouth. You may need to change the shape of the bit. There is also a rubber tongue depressing attachment you can use. It is not severe but used when training green horses. I’ve only ever needed to use it once. Used it for about 2 months with a green horse–he balled up his tongue. Once he understood…I didn’t need it anymore. While I would also probably use a flash or figure eight…I would not make it tight. They need to move their jaw to accept the bit. And a tight flash will not help them accept the bit and may create more anxiety. First thing I do though is change the bit a few times to see if I can find a shape they prefer. Some like thin…some thick…some two joints, others prefer one joint. If he was ridden with harsh hands below…you have to first and formost instill trust and relaxation. If I was re-habbing a horse with issues, I might even go without a bit for a while.

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Your horse has a problem and is reacting. It might be body pain, poor fitting tack, rider error, anxiety. Work on solving his problem. There are plenty of gadgets to stop the symptom but you won’t have a happy, relaxed horse because those gadgets only compound the problem that still exists. You might find information on line or enlist the help of a qualified person.

My horse has a low palate/fat tongue. When your horse is just standing, no bit in his mouth, does his tongue kind of ooze out from his teeth? If so, you need to ensure you have a bit that fits his mouth. I ended up with a Myler comfort snaffle - it’s super thin, and no more issues. If you aren’t experienced with fitting a bit, ask an educated trainer for help, or a vet or equine dentist. There could be other issues outside mouth conformation, but I’d start there.

What others are saying. My mare has had many of the same issues. I know that those rubber snaffles are “mild” but for a horse with a small, crowded mouth, they are not comfortable. What mine likes most is a thinner bit held high in her mouth (2 wrinkles.) I left a trainer because she insisted on a tight flash and tight noseband (albeit with a pad). I don’t use a flash at all, and keep the noseband fairly loose. To be fair, I am not showing, or trying to show; in fact, I’m riding her in a Little S hackamore these days. Her bit, should I decide to go back to using it, is a double-jointed eggbutt snaffle with a “bean” in the middle, from Smith-Worthington.

The other thing I noticed is that when my mare does put her tongue over the bit, she’s unbalanced and fighting me in some way, which usually means that I am unbalanced. Also, she puts it right back under on her own!

Mine put his tongue over the bit within minutes of me putting on his bridle. A friend suggested a Boucher and I tried a french link boucher with a figure 8 (not tight) and that did the trick. He still will put his tongue over when stressed, like in a show situation so I put it up a hole just in case. We tried the tongue depressor and he even managed to get his tongue over that!

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My horse will do this with a plain noseband, but not a Micklem or a figure 8. Haven’t tried a flash.

Rubber tongue depressor – this was the very question I asked on this very space 15 (?) years ago that started me on CotH! I got dozens of answers, but the tongue depressor was the fix, for certain, for that horse.
I’d consider a Myler first, to make sure its not just tongue pressure.
The rubber thing - it looks like a kid’s fooler - costs like $5 so its easy to give it a try.

I would suggest trying a bit that sits straighter in the mouth, raising it a hole, and ditching the flash for for a Micklem or a regular cavesson. You may be adding to his anxiety about the bit by restricting jaw movement with the flash. Allow more and perhaps he will take less.