Bit guidance for sensitive but strong Irish Draught

Hi Claire,
I have a 6 y.o. full Irish Draught mare. She has a fleshy tongue and not too much room in her mouth. Very soft and stretchy, feshy lips that get pinched easily so I prefer a fulmer (helps with my steering too) D cheek She is quite a strong character and she has a very active tongue - actually more so when she doesn't have a bit in her mouth. It has taken quite some time to encourage her to actually mouth the bit.

I have tried many bits over the last couple of years and none of them have felt great. The best I have had was Sprenger due loose ring but she starts to lean on it after a while - I put her back in this yesterday after several weeks out of it and she went very nicely, soft round and with no leaning. Today I hacked in it and felt like I had no control (possibly the time of year). Up until couple of days ago I have been riding her in the "KY Single Mouth Rotary Full Cheek" which on the whole is ok but she still leans and feels like she fights it. She also has a tendency to shake her head a bit (partially allergy related - but also a habit) and gets very itchy round her mouth (but no signs of skin iritation/rash etc) when I'm working her.

She isn't naturally a very round horse but as soon as I put pressure on her she will poke her nose either up if we're in halt or out/down if we're in trot/canter - walk is actually pretty good. Some of my issues I do believe are training related and a bit isn't going to fix everything but I really want to make sure she is comfortable and accepting of the bit she has.

I am looking for something that is dressage legal but also has either a pelham version or can be used as a bridoon as part of a double for showing. I do a bit of everything with her; dressage, showing, jumping and hacking.

I did try her in the happy tongue and she didn't like it - I actually felt like I had nothing in my hand and she became quite anxious.

Would you be able to provide me with some suggestions?

Many thanks,

Posted in General, asked by Elsbeth Hanson, 3 years ago. 1096 hits.


Hi Elsbeth,

Even though your mare didn't like the Happy Tongue, it does sound as though she is not happy with pressure on her tongue.

You are correct that a bit can make a huge difference, but it is only part of the puzzle! Training, feeding etc all need to be correct as well.

I recommend a Fulmer Loose Ring Ported Barrel for her. The Fulmer Loose Ring will give you the same benefits as the standard Fulmer, but it will also give a fast release from pressure. The Ported Barrel will allow for good tongue relief, but as the port is hinged, it gives a slightly more alive feel, and the horse can change the width of the port to a certain degree. The Ported Barrel is also available in a Pelham, I suggest going with the 55mm shanks, and not the 75mm. The Ported Barrel is also Dressage legal.


Claire @ Bombers
3 years ago
Please register/login to answer this question.  Click here to login
- Just now


Just now