Dear Horse Nation: A community advice column

Reader Ella Rak has a problem–her horse likes to let his tongue flap in the breeze when she rides him, which doesn’t go over too well with dressage judges. Got advice?

Dear Horse Nation,

I am an avid Horse Nation and Eventing Nation reader who has a problem I was hoping you or your readers could help me with. I am a lower-level eventer competing my former upper-level horse at the Beginner Novice and hopefully soon Novice levels. When I bought him I was told his tongue was tied out when he was raced on the steeplechase track and that it became a habit to have it out.
My problem is that my horse sticks his tongue out. I’m not talking just a smidgen, I’m talking about 6+ inches of slimy tonuge flying in the wind. It doesn’t matter the weather, bridle, bit, or time of day, if he has a bit in his mouth his tongue is out. I normally wouldn’t consider this a problem as it is what makes him happy, half the time he will even do it in his stall, but I have found that when his tongue is out, out goes any chance of doing well in the dressage phase. He has been eventing for 10+ years with it out, but I am adamant that I will get it back in.
I have tried everything I can think of from stuffing peppermints in his mouth, cranking up his flash, even wrapping his bit in Fruit Roll Ups. He has perfect teeth, and absolutely no medical reason as to why he would do this.  I attached a picture of him jumping to show just how far out it goes. I was just hoping that anyone would have any idea of how to get it back in, even just for the 5-minute dressage test.  Thank you so much for your help.

Ella Rak

Leave your suggestions in the comments section below. And feel free to email your own questions and conundrums to [email protected]–maybe someone out there has the answer you’ve been searching for!

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