Ponies don't talk. But should they try?
I had a title for this post but was not particularly motivated to write much on the subject because I have covered bits, bridles, and gags ad nausem here on cpony. They're some of my favorite pieces of tack, but I know many don't share my irrational enthusiasm for them.
However, fairly recently I encountered a post on Fetlife (you need to be a member of Fetlife to view the topic) where the topic of preventing intelligible speech was brought up.
Well, as some of you may already know, I can be a bit of a gearhead when it comes to ponyplay. While I don't have to be completely decked out, I do require some tack (read: bondage) to really get into a scene. Maybe it is because I have to lose physical control before I am willing to surrender mental control (i.e. get into a pony headspace), but I always need some degree of physical bondage.
Anyway, it was an interesting discussion, and the last poster summed it up quite nicely by pointing out that there are two big camps: preventing the pony from doing something and training the pony not to do something.
On cpony, I generally talk about this difference as forced ponyplay versus equine role-play. The former is a human forced to become an animal and thus more tack is needed to "force" the person to remain a pony. The latter is a person who "becomes" a pony, and as such does not require anything to prevent him from speaking - he is a pony, and ponies don't speak.
Most people/ponies fall somewhere in between. Most of my scenes are "forced" ponyplay scenes, but I can get into a pony headspace - it just takes tack/equipment to get me there.
Anyway, for those who need to prevent intelligible speech, whether it be for initial training so your pony learns he is not supposed to speak, or for full time use to constantly remind him not to speak, here are some options.
One good way to prevent intelligible speech is to use a bit port (as suggested by the original poster).
I am a big advocate of rubber bit ports because they are:
However, if you don't like the look of a bit port and are willing to spend a few more dollars (~$30), there are other options available such as the english spoon bit (pictured at right, middle pane), and the loose ring tongue bit (photo at right, bottom pane). I own both of these and can vouch for their effectiveness. I think the spoon bit looks a little cooler, but the loose ring tongue bit extends further into the mouth making it a little more effective (and also more likely to stimulate the gag reflex).
Also as mentioned in the thread on Fetlife, the WTP tongue bit is also an option. I don't own this one, but from experience, I can say that anything that restricts tongue movement will prevent intelligible speech (but will also cause copious drooling).
And don't worry, you can whinny through any of these bits...in fact that's pretty much all you can do.
One final option I would like mention is the use of shock collars and other electrical play devices. Obviously these don't prevent speech, but rather give an adverse (total understatement) stimulus when speaking is attempted. These devices can be modified to permit only sounds of a certain frequency, volume, length, etc.
Some of the above modifications are not trivial, but I am currently working on a simple program that could be installed on my phone which would control a shock collar (or other e-stim device) and have more advanced settings, such as requiring a pony to make (or not make) certain sounds and requiring (with the use of a pedometer) that a pony be moving at or above a certain speed.
Anyway, ultimately preventing intelligible speech comes down to the mindset of the pony and his trainer. What is your brand of ponyplay? Do you need a physical restriction on your speech?