Fussiness and Tongue Flapping

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  andie_zelles 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • mkd1005 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    I have a 6 year old OTTB that I started working this spring. He’s very sensitive and anxious by nature, though I’m hoping he grows out of it. Aside from that, he is horribly sensitive with his mouth. He wings his tongue out and flops it around pretty violently while being ridden. The first 10 minutes or so of the ride are awful. He’s very fussy and light in the front end (as in hopping). Once he calms down he’s pretty good. He takes contact in the bridle and stretches down, but every couple minutes he “gets a bug up his butt” so to speak, and flops his tongue out. He throws it around violently, sometimes almost comes to a stop, and gets very sensitive to the bit. If I try to half halt, he slides to a halt. This will go on for maybe 30 seconds, and then he’s back to normal. He’s in a loose ring French link snaffle and figure 8 bridle now, and yes he’s had his teeth done recently. Any ideas as to equipment or training that might settle this problem?

    andie_zelles
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 7

    I have had similar problems with my Arabian when I first brought him home. He was used as endurance horse, and on our first trai ride, oh boy… he was a drunk sailor, making his own collective canter hopping all over the place, and sweated up from nose to flanks! He was about 8 at the time.

    What I did was taught him how to relax by starting on the ground. I would place my hadn on his pole and apply pressure. When he started moving his head down I released the pressure and rewarded him. I used clicker training for this, but (noto many people like using food as a reward) you can reward in any fashion. Once I taught him that I wanted him to put his head all the way down and keep it there, I transitioned it to a halter and lead rope then after that to the bridal and reins. On my training rides in and out of arena I used the method, but I would not expect too much so that we both weren’t dissapointed. Slowly expectations raised. He had a high head trouble though, so this helped with that and calming him down.
    Clicker method helped too because he was “clicked” and reinforced when being calm and walking not when dancing around like a lion would eat him. We just kept riding around the property and the roads until I could get on him without any prep work besides stretching. The clicker is good to capture a behavior because horses are so reliant on sound. It later helped when he became spooked at different objects.

    Also, if you don’t think the above will help you, you should assess what troubles the horse is having and narrow it down. My horse had trouble with me riding him through a gait without taking off down the road. So I worked him like no tomorrow to get him to be calm. If he couldn’t go through walking he couldn’t go at all.
    I also, if he would blow through everything I taught him, would circle him using the “Emergancy Stop” rein pull. I would be very gentle and light handed circling him until we came to a nice, quiet stop. Releasing the rein we would do a small circle around once and continue on. This gave him a chance to come back to working with me instead or reacting and getting hot. Redirecting his thoughts and energy.
    There came a point that I had to teach him to be quiet in his “whoas” and stand still until I said “walk”. This proved troublesome when he wanted to go…

    Another thing to consider, though you said your horse just had dental, is to consider ulcers along the gums. This was found in my horse’s mouth when he arrived home after the sale. Though your vet would have seen.
    Consider too, how much are you feeding your horse in sugar? NOT treats necessarily but the sugar content of all the horse consumes. Is it heavy hay with alfalfa? Or too much grain? maybe sweetfeed? I heard this from my ferrier once… “Too much sugar, not enough activity, equals one hot horse.” Which is true. Though you may believe you are working your horse enough, are you really expelling all that pent up energy?

    Hope this helps in anyway giving a new idea to you. Let me know what you end up doing. I love hearing new training methods!

    andie_zelles
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 7

    oh yeah!

    With the tongue hanging and flapping around. My horse would fuss with his bit all the time.

    I am an english rider, so my bridal was able to hold a Flash.

    It helped with him trying to roll his tongue around… Not sure if that helps you…

    But a sign of a horse listening and thinking is licking, just make sure when you have someone watch they see a difference.

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