Horse constantly fussing, refusing to take a contact and trying/getting tongue over the bit

I own a 17hh ID, he has had all checks done and I have even had a bitting expert out to check mouth conformation, he has a big tongue and fleshy lips. From being broken he was in a Myler loose ring comfort snaffle, the first level, went well in this until workload intensified, he started to sit just behind the contact and not want to take it forward, started messing in his mouth constantly and refusing to soften and accept. I have tried Neue Schule loose ring turtle top, terrible in this, fixed solid and would not flex left at all, constantly arguing about the contact and refusing to soften and accept. I tried him in a bog standard loose ring single joint fulmer, he was awful, disrespected it completely, set himself and ignored my aids altogether whilst expecting me to carry his head. I currently have him in a loose ring Bomber happy tongue, he is very very light in this (almost too light) and flexible BUT typically after a wk he is now messing with his mouth, refusing to take the contact and managed to get his tongue over it today, he is currently in a drop, was in a flash, no difference. I am trying to do dressage so trying to use dressage legal bits, but the way he is performing I can't even school properly never mind do dressage. Hope you can offer some advice? Kind regards Claire

Posted in Dressage, asked by claire, one year 1. 639 hits.


Hi Claire,

First off, have you had his teeth, neck and back checked? If there is anything else that is bothering him, then the bit won't make much difference.

Did the bit fitter that came out to see you look under his tongue at the space between the bars of his lower jaw? Some horses are narrow in the bottom jaw, and this effects how the Happy Tongue sits in the mouth.

Trying to get his tongue over the Happy Tongue could also be because when the port rotates, as the contact is taken up, it will eventually start to put some pressure on his tongue. Is he any better with very light pressure on the reins, versus when the contact gets stronger?

If it is the rotation of the port, then we could go to a swivel for him. The swiveling mouth piece allows the port to stay in one place, and not rotate down onto the tongue. Did he try to put his tongue over the other bits you tried?


Claire @ Bombers
one year 1
Hiya Claire, thanks for the reply, yes he has had all checks done. He really doesn't like you to take a good contact in the happy tongue. Funnily enough no he didn't try to get tongue over the Neue Schule Turtle Top, the Myler he just sat behind it a little. The problem with the Turtle Top was his ability to set against it. What would you recommend to try? Are the swivel bits dressage legal? Thanks Claire - claire one year 1
Hi Claire, I'm glad to hear you've had him looked over! No, the Swivel isn't legal, and I also don't think it would work given your answer above. He's not happy in the port, and I don't think changing the angel is going to help there. I think your horse is a little sensitive to tongue and bar pressure. I recommend a Loose Ring Ultra Comfy Lock Up for him. The Ultra Comfy won't use as much bar pressure as the Happy Tongue, but it does go up and over the tongue, reducing the tongue pressure as well. Regards, Claire@Bombers - Claire @ Bombers one year 1
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