You might not guess it, but pony play involves a lot of waiting (for the pony at least). From standing patiently while you're being groomed, to standing patiently while you're being tacked up, followed by more patient waiting while your trainer fiddles with the reins. And after all that, you end up with your reins tied to a post while your rider goes to get the crop.
Consequently, I find myself in a near-perpetual state of soft focus when I'm a pony (sort of like how my laptop dims its screen if I don't interact with it for 30 seconds) - a fact that is not lost on my trainer. She's usually sympathetic to the pains of being a pony (she better be aware since she's the one who cinches up all the straps), but sometimes, she likes to see me a little uncomfortable, to know that while she's off (taking her time) getting the crop, I'm putting all my effort into just bearing the bondage.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love to - quite consciously - probe (not quite struggle, but very much skating a fine line between the two) my restraints whenever I'm in bondage, and pony play is no exception (in fact, on second thought, I would actually say that I'm especially prone to do this during pony play (after all, I'm supposed to be a horse, and that's exactly what a horse would do)). However, there's a big difference between playful probing or bored fidgeting and earnestly struggling out of a desire to actually loosen some article of restraint.
Of all the things to struggle against, a gag is certainly one of the most distracting (in my humble opinion of course). Wearing a bit that holds down your tongue with a fat metal plate that's long enough to be flirting with the back of your throat with every bob of your tongue is unnatural, uncomfortable, and undignified (don't believe the last point? When the bit prevents you from swallowing, where do you think all the saliva goes?).
Spoon bits, and other bits with tongue plates, work exactly like a rubber tongue port. The only difference is that the port is a part of the bit in the former whereas it's detachable in the case of the latter. The spoon bit I "got" to wear today has a tongue plate that is quite a bit wider than the detachable rubber ports, but it's not quite as long. Being a molded part of the metal bit, the spoon is mouth filling, unyielding, and adorably (T's word, not mine) shiny.
T chose the metal spoon bit today for two reasons. One, as I mentioned earlier, is that it's uncomfortable to wear, far from tortuous, but causing more than enough discomfort and distress to keep me from zoning out, amply uncomfortable to keep me occupied (constantly pushing it around with my tongue, trying to adjust where it sits in my mouth) and out of trouble when I'm unattended (if I'm busy trying to push the bit out with my tongue or maintain my dignity by trying to swallow around the metal intruder, then I'm not busy kicking, trying to untie my reins, etc.).
The second reason T chose to use this bit is the superb control it provides when she is at the reins. I can be a rather stubborn pony. I often fight the bit and reins, and this bit takes away my most powerful weapon in fighting my rider's reins aids: my tongue. With my tongue trapped under the metal plate, I have no leverage to push back on the bit.
So, in the name of added control and T's amusement at my discomfort (mostly the latter if you ask me, but she usually doesn't ask me, and it's not like I would be answering coherently anyway if she did), I found myself wearing this lovely bit today for our training session, and for a doubly long time waiting (with my reins tied to a post) for said training session to begin.
After tying off my reins, T casually flicks the counterbalance that sticks out from the front of my mouth down and then back up (sending the larger tongue plate residing in my mouth upwards to dig into my soft palate and then crushing downwards into my helpless tongue) before going off to do...whatever it is trainers do when they leave their bound, blinkered ponies tied to a post, unable to turn an watch their movements. Aside from the bit (and the bondage of course), T leaves me with the camera for company.
In spite of my conscious efforts to avoid trying to move (or if I'm really lucky remove) the bit around my mouth with my tongue while the camera was rolling, it proved impossible to avoid probing the large metal plate with my tongue. It's just uncomfortable enough that my instinct is to try and push it out (or at least get my tongue over it), so that it doesn't keep hitting the back of my throat.
But, of course, with the bit snugly buckled to my bridle, neither of those things happened. The only thing that I achieved was to fatigue my tongue well before the actual training session began. Well, that and to get drool all over myself (T at least had mercy and wiped that off before we began our session).