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La Boca Mojada

CC Bosal
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An old saying in the Pacific Slope about horses is “a moist mouth is a soft mouth.” This is because the wet mouth is a sign of relaxation. Other parts of the horse’s body tend to be without undue tension also.
Consider a nursing baby or one with a pacifier: when his tongue moves his jaw is loose, his breathing deepens, he relaxes and often saliva results. Endorphins are released. Similarly with a horse, his body, and especially his hindquarters, also relax.

When using a good CA style bit in a horse’s mouth, a galvanic reaction occurs when mild steel, copper and saliva interact. This produces a pleasant, small electric charge, which in turn causes the secretion of more moisture from the horse’s multiple saliva glands.

A good cricket in a well made CA style bit encourages this resulting in what we call la musica. Some riders don’t like the sound, but to Californios it makes us smile and is purely “music to our ears.” When the horse explores, plays with and enjoys his bit, we know that this is a sign that bridling is progressing. For some horses, nervous energy can be released with a cricket in a positive way.

With the tongue engaging the cricket, the horse’s jaw is not clenched. A relaxed horse that is comfortable can be ready to respond to the rider’s communication in an instant. La boca mojada is one key to the trigger-reined horse of the legendary Californios.

The terms slobber bars, slobber chains and slobber straps come from the saliva foam (“slobber”) in mouth that a relaxed horse often produces. The various meanings and applications of these terms can be confusing at first. Check each link for a short explanation.

Remember, with care and preparation:
“A moist mouth is a soft mouth.”
CC Bosal

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