Tongue and Poll sensitive 6 year old Arabian mare

Please forgive the lengthy explanation leading to the problem I'm currently having with my mare.

My young mare started to shake her head in April 2017 when I started taking dressage lessons, more specifically with contact and collection. I had her teeth floated, had her adjusted by a chiropractor, then she underwent myofascial therapy and when she showed no progress, I changed all her tack: saddle, girth bridle and bit. The bit I currently ride her in, is a slightly curved one-piece (thick) bit. She continued to shake her head and I decided to put her to pasture, until recently where I had an equine osteopath and an equine dentist (who is also a certified osteopath) check her out. She was in great pain; poll, TMJs, palette had been modified by her to accommodate pain, stifle and dragging hindquarter and she was moving in a “C” shape to the right to bring relief.
It was discovered that her teeth were completely off balance and had been filed down way too much and at wrong angles (straight like for a quarter horse of warm blood instead of angled for Arabians). The dentist estimated it would take two years to rehab her mouth. I was told to continue riding her. I have two options, either I ride her in a Hackamore to leave her mouth tongue alone or I change the bit once again.

I am hoping you would have a bit to accommodate her sensitive poll and tongue as I do want to continue riding her

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Baie Dankie Meneer.


Posted in Custom Bits, asked by Sonia Lightsey, one year 1. 453 hits.


Hi Sonia,

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Not applying poll pressure through the use of a bit is fairly simple. We would either use a plain Loose Ring cheek piece, or we would use a DC Morgan. Neither of these cheek piece create any additional poll pressure. The fact that the bridle hangs from the poll does mean that there is automatically pressure on the poll being applied through the bridle. With the above cheek pieces this pressure stays as it is, they will not increase the pressure at all.

For the mouth piece, we will want to follow the shape of her mouth carefully. We have a few options here which will reduce pressure on the tongue, and follow the shape of her mouth well.

With the DC Morgan our best option is the Bomber Blue 16/09. This bit is ported to provide tongue relief. A concern with ported bits is that they will interfere with the horse's palate. This is only a problem is the port is very narrow, with a wider port the mouth piece goes up and over the tongue and the port sits comfortably between the tongue and palate. We also make the top of our port thinner than the sides, this also ensures that the port is comfortable between the tongue and palate. The DC Morgan Bomber Blue Swivel also allows the mouth piece to rotate independently of the cheek pieces. This creates two effects, firstly it allows the horse to set the port at the angle they find most comfortable, and it reduces the movement of the bit in the mouth. The less movement there is, the more comfortable the bit is.

With a Loose Ring cheek piece, we would do either a Bomber Blue as well, or an Ultra Comfy Lock Up. The Ultra Comfy is double locked so that it cannot fold downwards or backwards, this means that it retains its shape in the horse’s mouth, and it eliminates any nut cracker action.  The mouth piece is also angled on the sides, so that it goes up and over the tongue, this greatly reduces tongue pressure.  Due to its’ shape, it will also fit the horse with a narrow bottom jaw without causing any discomfort.

My first choice for your horse would be the DC Morgan Bomber Blue Swivel as this will use the least amount of pressure.

Almost all Hackamores create some poll pressure. We do make one, the CT Hackamore which does not create any poll pressure. I would only go to the Hackamore if absolutely necessary, if she will not accept any bit.


Claire @ Bombers
one year 1


Thank you so much for your prompt response and great suggestion. I will look into this bit and keep you posted! Cheers, Sonia

Sonia Lightsey
one year 1
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