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Re: A strange oral fixation!(long query)

Trainers of Paso Finos (and other 'latin' horses for all I know) use a
thing called a jetera to introduce young horses to the bit.  It is a piece
of woven hemp (or maybe jute) that sits flat on the tongue, connects to a
head stall, and ties under the chin.  It has a couple of rings (one on
each side) that "mimic" the bit rings which can be used to bend the horse
one way or the other.  And it is designed to teach them to be comfortable
with having somehing in their mouths where the bit goes while at the same
time not being able to get their tongue over it.

You may not want to use this, as it is not all that unlike "tying their
tongues down" which you said you didn't want to do; although, why you
would be willing to tie his mouth shut (with a cranked down cavesson or
flash noseband) but not to tie his tongue down is unclear to me.

I have had some success in using it both with young horses who have no
experience with a bit, or with horses who have developed all kinds of
methods for evading the bit.  In essence, what you have to do is "start
over" with teaching a horse what a bit is for (and if he has previously
been wearing one that "would stop a rhinocerous" he is going to have to do
a little bit of "unlearning" before he can start learning...that bits
aren't for stopping horses....they are for communicating with them :)).

Sometimes what can work also, is to move the bit up in the horse's mouth
so he can't get his tongue over it...but this assumes that he will
eventually learn not to do this...since you don't want to ride with it
that way..eventually, you want to put the bit back where it belongs.

No matter what you do, there is no "quick fix" for this "problem"
are going to have to take the time to get him to accept the bit (or to go
with the hackamore and get the bit out of his mouth all together...but I
wouldn't necessarily recommend this...since he sounds like a pretty canny
guy and may just learn of some way to avoid/ignore that piece of equipment

Orange County, Calif.

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