Bit for a jumper with a sensitive mouth


My 7 years old warmblood has a very sensitive mouth. Her palate is lower than average which seems to bother her quite a bit. She developed such an aversion for bits that she would rear as soon as we picked up the reins. We had to put her in a hackamore for about a year which worked fine in the beginning but she wouldn't accept the curb chain so we had to keep her in the leather backstrap and she started to push into the hackamore to the point were we would lose control. We gradually managed to get a bit back in her mouth but we still haven't found the perfect one for her yet.

She is mainly ridden in a snaffle with a loose ring. She keeps her head very high, slightly twists her head to the left, opens her mouth a bit and sticks her tongue out to the right in it. We never use a noseband on her as we know that she is sensitive and that it is her way of copping. When she's on the bit (which is hard to obtain and even harder to maintain) she tends to keep her head low and heavy. What she also does in this bit is that she pushes into it when we jump although not to the point were we lose control. We also tried a snaffle with a fulmer cheekpiece but she hated it and would jerk her head upwards everytime we would turn.

We have tried to put her in a flexible rubber mullen loose ring (the trust equestrian ones with the really soft rubber). She seems to like it on the flat but for some reason, it really backs her up when we jump and looses her impulsion with even the slightest touch, which is strange because she doesn't do that with the snaffle. She also sticks her tongue out and keeps her mouth open. Her shoulders are hard to control in it so we tried the same mouthpiece with a dee cheekpiece to get more control but she kept on shaking her head in it.

We also tried her in a mullen loose ring that has dangling keys. She keeps her head very high in it but wont stick her tongue out. The problem is that she seems to be playing quite a lot with the keys and eventually passes her tongue above the bit. It works very well to keep her straight in her shoulders but she looses her impulsion in it like she does with the rubber one.

We don't really know what to try next, considering that she is very sensitive yet doesn't want to go forward in a softer bit.

Thanks a lot for your time and have a nice day!

Posted in Showjumping & Hunter, asked by Dominique Fournelle, 3 years ago. 1825 hits.


Hi Dominique,

Your mare definitely sounds tongue sensitive to me. I am very happy to hear that you are not trying to keep her mouth shut with a noseband, what she is trying to tell you by avoiding the bit is important.

She is slightly better in the Snaffle because it doesn't use as much tongue pressure as most other bits, but the nut cracker effect it creates on the bars is the reason that she is holding her head high.

Even though the soft rubber Mullen seems a very soft bit, the problem is that it is still using tongue pressure. It doesn't create a pressure point on the tongue, but instead spreads the pressure over the whole mouth.

My recommendation is to try her in a Loose Ring Happy Tongue. The Happy Tongue has a low, wide port to completely remove pressure from the tongue. The port is low, and is thinner than the rest of the bit, therefore it should not worry her palate.

If she still finds the Loose Ring Happy Tongue a little too much then we would suggest going to a Drop Cheek Happy Tongue Swivel. This bit allows the horse to set the mouth piece to the angle they find most comfortable. The rider has no influence on this, and the bit will remain at the same angle in the mouth even when the contact is taken up.


Claire @ Bombers
3 years ago
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