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Tongue-Hanging in Horses – Causes and Cure

Profile of a Tongue-Hanger

Rubesca was given to me without cost, a petite eighteen-yr-outdated chestnut Thoroughbred with a number of dangerous habits, one in all which was tongue hanging. That large muscle lolled out of the left facet of her mouth nearly non-cease: she seemed ridiculous.

Who would have thought she’d turn into the perfect horse I ever owned, profitable numerous in the future occasions, dressage and present leaping competitions?

Approximately one yr into our relationship, she’d kicked the tongue-hanging behavior, which made me surprise why horses cling their tongues and whether or not my approach of ‘curing’ Rubesca is frequent?

Reasons For Tongue-Hanging

In her article “Help for Tongue Resistance” Jessica Jahiel, PhD, clinician and lecturer, states that ‘tongue-lolling is often a response to ache.’

Teeth Problems

Causes of mouth ache fluctuate. Brenda Imus, of Brenda Imus Gaited Horse Services suggests getting the tooth examined and floated, because it’s doable the tooth minimize into the horse’s tongue when the bit is inserted. The animal hangs it to keep away from the ache.

The Bit

Both specialists level out {that a} horse’s tongue could be very thick. There is little or no room for the bit, a contraption which causes him to salivate. He should have the ability to swallow that saliva comfortably. If the bit is just too massive, held too strongly or the nostril band shuts his mouth too tightly, he might want to get his tongue out of the way in which in order to swallow.

Horses’ mouths differ, however Dr Jahiel recommends discovering “the thinnest, smoothest bit that would be the most comfy to your horse.”

My personal expertise helps this. Early on I modified Rubesca’s thick jointed snaffle to a thinner, smoother Happy Mouth. I used this smooth rubber bit regardless that she was enormously sturdy cross nation. Because it did not harm her, she listened, and I feel this contributed to her ultimately forgetting to loll her tongue.

I experience her son in a reasonably skinny French hyperlink, which Dr. Jahiel recommends for horses with thick tongues and low palates. He’s pleased with it and not hanging his tongue.

Rider’s Hands

Once the tooth have been checked and the proper bit inserted, we riders should be cautious with our fingers. Dressage judges deal with tongue hanging as ‘resistance’ as a result of it is so typically a response to the rider’s fingers.

It’s vital to not use the horse’s mouth for steadiness. It helps to think about how we might really feel if somebody rested on a shaft inserted inside our personal mouths.

Dr. Jahiel stresses the significance of sustaining even contact with each reins: typically tongue lolling is a response to an excessive amount of strain on one facet of the mouth.

Stress

Brenda Imus contains stress and boredom as causes for tongue hanging in horses, and suggests various their work in areas with room for them to stretch and transfer. To this I might add turning the horse out as a lot as doable with pleasant companions, and lowering his idle time in the stall.

Ms. Imus additionally says the behavior could also be “so ingrained that even after all of the stressors are eliminated, (the horse) might want to have his tongue bodily held in place till he turns into accustomed to it.”

That is a viewpoint I can not share.

Don’t Obsess

I plied Rubesca with every day TLC and rode her as if she had no quirks. Her workload was different, with a number of path rides per week.

I did not obsess about her tongue hanging (or head-wagging, bit-snatching, and many others.) and focused on using her as sensitively as doable, with constant contact and even rein strain. I took it slowly.

Over time I observed her tongue staying in her mouth for longer intervals. As Dr. Jahiel says, this drawback does not go away in a single day. But it did go away. I’d eliminated every part which may trigger my mare ache, stress or boredom and stopped worrying about her tongue.

I talked to trainers who’ve tried numerous methods to cease horses from hanging their tongues. After addressing doable bodily points, they discovered synthetic makes an attempt to restrain the horse’s tongue exacerbated the issue.

These horse-males and girls use the identical easy methodology I stumbled upon: hold the horse completely happy, ignore his behavior and it should go away.

Resources:

Jessica Jahiel, PhD Help for Tongue Resistance

http://equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/dressage/eqjahiel3496/

Brenda Imus, My Horse is Hanging His -horTongue Out of His Mouth

http://www.gaitsofgold.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=453:my-horse-is-hanging-his-tongue-out-of-his-mouth&catid=24:gaited-horse-training-articles&itemid=5

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