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View Full Version : Do you jump in a running martingale?



Meredith Clark
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:23 AM
Simple question from a simple girl :)

At the clinic I went to yesterday I noticed that everyone but me was jumping in a running martingale. It didn't "bother" me but I was curious so I asked Sally (Cousins). She started laughing and so did everyone else and said "a horse is never truly tacked up until it has a running on".

She said it's one of those things that doesn't do any harm if you don't need it, but is there if you do, and she has all of her horses in them.

I never thought about riding in one, don't know if I really need it. Do you ride in one? Why?

deltawave
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:29 AM
Keebler (argumentative head tosser): yes, because it makes him mind his manners

Boscoe (anxious head tosser): yes, because it keeps that behavior from escalating and keeps me from having to give him an active correction, which only makes him MORE anxious.

Bonnie (steady girl): no, don't need to

:)

EventingJ
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:36 AM
It's part of our jumping tack. 99% of the time we don't need it (anymore) but that 1% is why its never off :p

lcw579
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:48 AM
Pony only gets it on for foxhunting.

The coach for DD's pony club show jumping team actually noticed that he jumps much better without it on so off it came.

Sally's coming to our PC on Sunday. Can't wait!

SevenDogs
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:56 AM
Nope -- I have never used one in 25 years. A few horses at our barn use them (because they need to) and I would not hesitate to use one if *needed*, but I have to disagree that you should put one on every horse. Honestly, I just lost some respect for Sally if she is advocating every horse, every time.

Frivian
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:56 AM
OK, I am from hunterland here. What exactly does a running martingale do other than keeping the horse from hitting you in the face with a head toss? I guess I don't understand why it is a "must-have" on cross country. Does it give you more control without having to go to a bigger bit?

Meredith Clark
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:05 PM
Honestly, I just lost some respect for Sally if she is advocating every horse, every time.

I think the "you're never fully dressed without a running martingale" was a bit of a joke. She did say that if Juice didn't need one I shouldn't use one.

scubed
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:05 PM
Yes, because I rarely have a truly steady horse (see DW Keebler comment) and as Sally says if you don't need it, it isn't doing any harm. It is important to adjust it appropriately because if too short, it will get in the way of the horse using its head and neck fully. I typically use a running attachment on my breastplate

SevenDogs
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:11 PM
I think the "you're never fully dressed without a running martingale" was a bit of a joke. She did say that if Juice didn't need one I shouldn't use one.

Thanks for clarifying. :)

Janet
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:16 PM
OK, I am from hunterland here. What exactly does a running martingale do other than keeping the horse from hitting you in the face with a head toss? I guess I don't understand why it is a "must-have" on cross country. Does it give you more control without having to go to a bigger bit?
I find a running martingale useful with a green horse on a steepish downhill approach to a jump.

If I am riding PERFECTLY, I do not need the martingale.

But if I am riding less-than-perfectly I find that the horse sticks his head in the air as a way to avoid the checking/balancing aid from my hand.

The running martingale partially compensates for the fact that I have let my hand get into the wrong position. But it DOES allow me to rebalance the horse so we aren't running on our forehand into the jump.

Janet
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:18 PM
In terms of "never doing any harm", another trainer I knbow (who posts here) doesn't like to use a running martingale on a green horse because she says it interferes with a (wide) opening rein.

scubed
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:44 PM
Maybe because of positioning, I find I can use opening rein fine with running attachment attached to breastplate, but am inhibited by a regular running martingale

Bogie
Dec. 12, 2011, 12:58 PM
I know at least two ULR who don't like to use running martingales on leverage bits because there is always a tiny bit of weight from the rings on the reins.

I foxhunt in one but rarely use it otherwise. In the hunt field it helps keep my horse well mannered without bitting up.

EventerAJ
Dec. 12, 2011, 01:14 PM
Standard piece of equipment on any horse? No.

For safety in likely-to-be-needed situations? Yes. Such as: first time xc schooling, and/or riding in the open on a green, anxious horse. XC competition on a confirmed head tosser or "see-jump-RUN!" with head in the air type.

However, I HAVE seen horses lose confidence if the martingale is too restrictive. When I do use one, I make sure the rings reach well up to the horse's cheek/TMJ area, or up to the withers. Many attachments are too short, look for one in "oversize" or add an extra-long snap if needed. IMO, no martingale is preferable to a too-short martingale when jumping. For flatwork/hacking, a short one may temporarily serve a useful training purpose.

And for galloping/rehab racing TBs, a little extra leverage from a fork can work wonders!

riderboy
Dec. 12, 2011, 01:37 PM
Yes. The convincer was coming on a long downhill approach to a jump with a frost on the grass, too fast. I tried to slow down, he basically inverted his neck and at that point, you have nothing in your hands and feel pretty helpless. I do not use a leveraged bit.

snoopy
Dec. 12, 2011, 01:40 PM
In terms of "never doing any harm", another trainer I knbow (who posts here) doesn't like to use a running martingale on a green horse because she says it interferes with a (wide) opening rein.


very much agree!

RAyers
Dec. 12, 2011, 01:54 PM
Ironically, now that I use a Miklem bridle, I find the running martingale restrictive to my horse. It almost limits my connection to the bit given the way the bit is attached to the bridle.

I like not using the running. I always had one for my old guys but for the newbie, he is unrestricted. And I think given some of the hills we work (up to 20% grades), I prefer not having a running martingale. On those hills I feel it can fold a horse the wrong way (bring their head down) and cause them to endo if they trip.

purplnurpl
Dec. 12, 2011, 01:54 PM
In terms of "never doing any harm", another trainer I knbow (who posts here) doesn't like to use a running martingale on a green horse because she says it interferes with a (wide) opening rein.

I was about to say this.

If you don't need them but you have a horse that doesn't turn great it will do much more harm than good!!

I never put one on unless I think it will benefit. It's never a "just because" type of tack for me.

I ride a QH mare now who I thought needed one and it turned out after 2 or 3 rides she did not need it. She told me so in a very pissy way. It ended up being to harsh for her.

Xanthoria
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:00 PM
I don't jump in a running martingale, I jump in an elasticated breastplate with running attachment. For three reasons:

1. Breastplate stops saddle slippage
2. Wither connector gives something to grab in emergency
3. Running attachment prevents broken noses and missing teeth.

I like a multi-purpose piece of tack, especially if it's as benign as this one when not in use.

And this setup falls into the "better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it" category. Along with a whip, spurs, and 4 wheel drive on the truck. :yes:

bigbaytb
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:03 PM
Depends on horse/situation:
tb for xc and foxhunting if I'm using his xc bridle since it's only a snaffle. as he can really raise his head/invert when on occassion, not alot but enough to want to have the running martingale.. don't use for stadium work etc. don't use if i use a combination bit or any bit with a shank.

WB mare, always for jumping, foxhunting, xc as she likes to flip her nose and throw her head up (and does it with every frickin bit and bridle combination on earth and everyrider who rides her) so it catches her before I can.

lucyeq
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:20 PM
I use a running on my horse with a gag when jumping 3'3"+. I leave the curb out of the rings, so there isn't always pressure on the bit. Whenever I use the gag (at shows and if we jump 3'3"+ at home), I use the running.

TheHorseProblem
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:23 PM
Venturing over from the dressage forum. I have a breast collar type that I have only use when riding a spook. The weight of the rings helped me keep my former horse focused. He was a lazy spook and could be very quick to twist away from the rail and dump me, so the martingale helped, although it was not "dressage." My current horse went through a feed-related spooky phase this past summer, and I was forbidden by my trainer to get off and lunge no matter what he did, so that martingale helped a ton. His spook was a stop and plant and make himself 10 feet tall, so that thing gave me leverage, but mostly it gave me confidence that I could get him going forward without losing control.

I still dust it off after a few days of rain or a lay up, but we haven't really needed it since.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:25 PM
In terms of "never doing any harm", another trainer I knbow (who posts here) doesn't like to use a running martingale on a green horse because she says it interferes with a (wide) opening rein.

I'm more in that camp. I don't like the feel of a running and personally not found them all that helpful even when I have a horse who throws their head up and runs.

ETA: Neck strap...breast plate, yes. But I'm far more likely to grab a standing martingale to use on a youngster than a running. (yes, I know standings are not legal...I'm talking about just green broke babies who may have a tendancy to stand up...which hopefully isn't most of mine any more ;)).

Beam Me Up
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:35 PM
I don't with my current 2 guys, or by default, but I have with the majority of my horses, I think.

I don't like the feel of the rings moving on the rein (and imagine some horses might not either), but I do feel safer using them on some horses--there is definitely a psychological element of it for me.

yellowbritches
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:37 PM
I use one if I need one, but I don't consider them MUSTS (my musts are spurs, a whip-and even that I fudge on a lot- a breastplate, and a helmet). Over the years with Vernon, I went back and forth. He ended up going to his P3DE without. He had a tendency to come up a bit, but I was used to it and felt comfortable with it and it was just HIM. I never felt it was a massive evasion...just him. Ralph wore one most of his life, as did my first "real" event horse, Elf. Neigh went back and forth, but as I became more educated, I think he stopped getting it. Toby has yet to prove he needs one...so, we don't.

wildlifer
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:38 PM
I do when they are learning the sport -- it just keep the head out of the "I can no longer influence you" zone and does nothing the rest of the time. With my previous horse, after about a year, he didn't need it anymore. I think the current youngster will be the same way.

snoopy
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:41 PM
I'm more in that camp. I don't like the feel of a running and personally not found them all that helpful even when I have a horse who throws their head up and runs.

:yes:

xcatheart
Dec. 12, 2011, 02:42 PM
I don't use one on my gelding. I did when we first started schooling/competing xc, but found he would lean on my hands and I had a hard time getting his head up and forehand lightened up in front. Took it off and have not had any issues whatsover! Doesn't lean, doesn't get heavy on the forehand when galloping/jumping...

Went fox hunting this fall. After not using my running martingale all season, I put it on him thinking I might need the "extra control". UGH! Didn't take me too long to remember why I don't use one on him! With him leaning and heavy on the forehand, I lose control rather than gain more control with a martingale. At one of the checks, I unbuckled it (it was an attachment to his breastplate) and all was fine!

JSjumper
Dec. 12, 2011, 03:47 PM
I use one if I need one, but I don't consider them MUSTS (my musts are spurs, a whip-and even that I fudge on a lot- a breastplate, and a helmet).

This :D

I'm not a big fan of using certain tack for the look, or just because... it seems like half the time, people use certain equipment just because people around them do, without even knowing the exact purpose of it, or how to fit it correctly. If it may come in handy during that specific ride, use it! If not, leave it in the tack room. One less thing to clean at the end of the day ;)

Kementari
Dec. 12, 2011, 04:34 PM
On my mare, who when she evades does it by channeling a giraffe - yes, whenever we jump or gallop. I'd rather correct evasions without artificial aids or better yet before they even happen, of course, but I like to have the "oh, $&#!" option since, well, I'm not perfect. :yes:

On my gelding, who when he evaded did it by putting his head down - rarely, and only when he was going to be in a situation where I expected high-headed issues might arise (like being ridden by a kid or greener rider who might not be as steady-handed in the heat of the moment as a more seasoned rider).

I do find it changes my use of an opening rein if I need such, but not to the point of preventing it. If I were riding a horse on whom I needed to use a wide opening rein with some frequency, that would definitely influence my decision on whether or not to use the running, though.

Dawnd
Dec. 12, 2011, 05:03 PM
When I watch a lot of jump rounds of a wide range of horses, I think that it is easy to see when a horse might benefit from wearing a running martingale or attachment but much harder to tell when a horse might benefit from not wearing one.

It seems to be an easy tool to add but taking it away is a harder decision.

Ideally, we would all have responsive horses who came back to us with a slight shift of our body position. If I was a better rider on a better horse, perhaps I wouldn't need it either :)

frugalannie
Dec. 12, 2011, 05:17 PM
If you ever clinic with Lucinda Green, she generally requests that you bring a running with you (attachment or martingale: I'm not sure what the functional difference is).

My OTTB x giraffe mare goes in the same KK bit all phases with a running for jumping and it's brilliant. Lucinda's suggestion.;)

Highflyer
Dec. 12, 2011, 08:34 PM
I don't automatically use one, but if I'm having trouble it's almost always the first thing I try and often it ends up being enough.

ake987
Dec. 12, 2011, 10:08 PM
I initially rode my gelding in one, but in terms of tossing his head, I found it to be useless. He could still jerk his head up quite a bit with the attachment appropriately set on his breastplate. I could see how it could benefit some horses and their people, but for me, if I couldn't ride my horse out on an XC school without him throwing his head everywhere without a running martingale, I shouldn't be out on an XC school. That is MY opinion for *myself* and *my horse* - not anyone else!

BeverlyAStrauss
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:05 AM
I always use one BUT it is so loose that it does not interfere with an opening (or any) rein- it is only for those times when a horse might totally try to leap up and root the reins away. A tight one that interferes with the action of the reins is awful. Having said that, I only use a snaffle (single jointed or lozenge)- if I had to go to a bigger bit I think I would lose the running. I find that most of our OTTBs have galloped in a plain snaffle and a set of rings at the track-since this is what they are familiar with, I go with it and it works.

I don't find a whole lot of difference between a running and a breastplate with a running attachment- except with the breastplate it is harder to grab the neck strap if you need it (too close to the pommel) and you have to make sure the attachment is long enough (many are cut short and they don't slide through the neck strap like a running, so aren't as adjustable from the chest ring.) Of course with the breastplate you get the added advantage of having your saddle held in place.

purplnurpl
Dec. 13, 2011, 10:39 AM
If you ever clinic with Lucinda Green, she generally requests that you bring a running with you (attachment or martingale: I'm not sure what the functional difference is).

My OTTB x giraffe mare goes in the same KK bit all phases with a running for jumping and it's brilliant. Lucinda's suggestion.;)

Oh ya! I remember that in her check list. For all to wear a running attachement.

That being said, I went without and she didn't say anything to me.

Janet
Dec. 13, 2011, 11:22 AM
Oh ya! I remember that in her check list. For all to wear a running attachement.

That being said, I went without and she didn't say anything to me.
I always have one in my trailer for a Lucinda clinic (unless it is already on the horse).

She has never asked me to put it on MY horse, but it has been borroweed at least once for someone ELSE's horse.

amastrike
Dec. 13, 2011, 11:38 AM
With my mare, I always *ride* in a running. It doesn't get in the way if she's being good. If she's not being good, it keeps me from getting concussed. I use a breastplate with running attachment, but I don't think there's a difference between that and just a running martingale.

Bobthehorse
Dec. 13, 2011, 01:46 PM
I have always used one for jumping and speedwork. Ive never really had horses that were bad with their heads, but even on a steady horse there can be moments when you wish you had it. The way mine are adjusted, there is no restriction for either an opening rein or the horses' natural head movement. But, on the very rare occasion that a deer comes running out in front of us or the adrenaline gets the better of them coming through a turn, I have it as security and I can think of a couple times Ive been very glad to.

I wouldnt say every horse every time, but I would say its a good idea for most horses in potentially exciting situations. I have seen way more horses that make me think "I would want a running on that" than ones that make me think "he would go better without a running". Too short martingales of course can cause problems, but thats not a flaw in the equipment itself.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:12 PM
I'm pretty positive that in Steinkraus' oft quoted CHronicle article, along with a fabulous line about believing that riders eyes are, quite literally, in our seats, he also says we should always show jump with a running, so we don't lode the important class due to a cheap rail. (Muck paraphrased, but I think I have the gist)

Xanthoria
Dec. 13, 2011, 11:08 PM
a fabulous line about believing that riders eyes are, quite literally, in our seats


well if he meant that literally then we have more to discuss than martingales here! :eek::winkgrin::lol:

gold2012
Dec. 13, 2011, 11:10 PM
Yup, all of them. PROPERLY adjusted, it virtually has no impact. Occasionally it's been a life saver. KEY word is proper adjustment.

Life saver vs. occasional impact so slight...going with life saver, read deer, woods, cliff.

I also agree, it's far easier to see when a rider could have used one, and when it caused a negative problem.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 14, 2011, 06:56 AM
for me...a properly adjusted one really still bugs me.

When a horse throws their head up...all a running does is give the rider leverage to put the bit back on the bars of their mouth.

For most of my horses...this pisses them off more. I fix head tossing usually by putting my leg on. If I have a horse really throw their head up and run---I want to turn and bend by putting one leg on and opening and rein to get a bend. If a horse is bolting...pulling on their face usually doesn't really help me. And at that point, the little extra leverage I get from a running isn't going to matter:eek:

Maybe it is just the horses I have...but all a running can do is make your leverage on the bit stronger...and for most of my horses this is not helpful.

I can see it be useful for some horses....but for me, I've not found it a useful training piece of equipment other than it gives me a neck strap to grab. On a "bad" green horse, I'd rather have a standing on them for training if I'm needing some help.

Only other reason I've ever used a running is I was told it helps keep your reins from flipping over their head...when you have slipped the reins. I have put them on a horse for xc for this reason but have gotten out of that habit.

snoopy
Dec. 14, 2011, 07:05 AM
for me...a properly adjusted one really still bugs me.

When a horse throws their head up...all a running does is give the rider leverage to put the bit back on the bars of their mouth.

For most of my horses...this pisses them off more. I fix head tossing usually by putting my leg on. If I have a horse really throw thier head up and run---I want to turn and bend by putting one leg on and opening and rein to get a bend. If a horse is bolting...pulling on their face usually doesn't really help me. And at that point, the little extra leverage I get from a running isn't going to matter:eek:

Maybe it is just the horses I have...but all a running can do is make your leverage on the bit stronger...and for most of my horses this is not helpful.

I can see it be useful for some horses....but for me, I've not found it a useful training piece of equipement other than it gives me a neck strap to grab. One a "bad" grean horse, I'd rather have a standing on them for training if I'm need some help.

Only other reason I've ever used a running is I was told it helps keep your reins from flipping over their head...when you have slipped the reins. I have put them on a horse for xc for this reason but have gotten out of that habit.



:yes:

sophie
Dec. 14, 2011, 08:45 AM
I used to.. I used to put it on even when working on the flat. I also used to wear full seats and slather Lexol on my saddle before each ride.

Now that my loopy Ottb has more training, and has grown up quite a bit, she only wears it when we ride in Hunter paces. And she probably doesn't need it, it's more for my sake than for her.

Sarge03
Dec. 15, 2011, 12:47 AM
I had Jimmy Wofford basically tell me the same thing, a horse should be wearing a running (and a breast collar) for jumping. I ride my gelding in one, and while he has still nailed me a couple times flipping his head, it has given me the leverage I need when he hollows and runs off, is it perfect? No, but I have not had it act against anything that I wanted. Also, standings terrify me, I have seen horses hit them and throw themselves on the ground, so I would be more likely to use a running where I can release the pressure if the horse responds badly.

cobiemurphy
Dec. 15, 2011, 08:13 AM
Only other reason I've ever used a running is I was told it helps keep your reins from flipping over their head...when you have slipped the reins. I have put them on a horse for xc for this reason but have gotten out of that habit.

This.. they're more likely to stay around the horse's neck rather than ending up around the horse's legs in the event of a fall when there's a running martingale involved.

Highflyer
Dec. 15, 2011, 09:50 AM
I also really like NF elastic running attachment for when you are on the fence as to whether you really *need* a running. It runs big, though.

besum1
Dec. 15, 2011, 10:17 AM
for me...a properly adjusted one really still bugs me.

When a horse throws their head up...all a running does is give the rider leverage to put the bit back on the bars of their mouth.

For most of my horses...this pisses them off more. I fix head tossing usually by putting my leg on.

Maybe it is just the horses I have...but all a running can do is make your leverage on the bit stronger...and for most of my horses this is not helpful.

I can see it be useful for some horses....but for me, I've not found it a useful training piece of equipment other than it gives me a neck strap to grab. On a "bad" green horse, I'd rather have a standing on them for training if I'm needing some help.



I agree with this! My old eventer flipped his head even more and was really heavy on the forehand when I tried to be"cool" with the running martingale on... Some horses yes, they do need it, but I wouldn't put it on just b/c it "might help you"- less is more!

Also a horse I'm currently riding would probably flip over backwards if he was put in a running!! He NEEDS a standing martingale (hopefully temporary since they aren't legal..grrr for this horse!) He's been seriously abused in the mouth when jumping so that if you apply any pressure to his mouth he just speeds up and flips his head even more, but with the standing (properly adjusted) he just has a gentle reminder on his nose to put his head down. He's extremely responsive to your seat and I think (hope!) that once he understands I'm not going to pull on his mouth when jumping, he'll naturally keep his head down and be the awesome horse that he is!! So far with just 2 jump rides he's started to settle down and jump like a normal horse and not a giraffe!! woohoo!!

I really hate how the running applies more pressure to the bit, especially if you have a sensitive mouthed horse- and exactly why I wouldn't use it as "standard" equipment

wildlifer
Dec. 15, 2011, 10:32 AM
I won't use a standing -- I have now witnessed two nasty wrecks where the horse slipped and fell because the standing martingale prevented him from getting his head up to balance himself. Riders suffered smooshing and head slamming. With the running, I can (and have) let go of the reins and he can balance however he needs to. I don't use it once they are more trained, but for the young'un, it's just a reminder of where he really doesn't need to go.

CatchMeIfUCan
Dec. 15, 2011, 10:44 AM
I had Jimmy Wofford basically tell me the same thing, a horse should be wearing a running (and a breast collar) for jumping. I ride my gelding in one, and while he has still nailed me a couple times flipping his head, it has given me the leverage I need when he hollows and runs off, is it perfect? No, but I have not had it act against anything that I wanted. Also, standings terrify me, I have seen horses hit them and throw themselves on the ground, so I would be more likely to use a running where I can release the pressure if the horse responds badly.

I put one on for a Wofford clinic to be properly dressed, and Jimmy took it off after he saw me jump. It was on a horse that like to carry his head a bit higher and look at the jumps from the bottom of his eyes. I don't think that is a "rule" with Jimmy, at least in my experience.

I pretty much agree with bornfreenowexpensive. I really don't like the feel of a running martingale and have run all my horses without one. Kind of like how William Fox-Pitt almost always rides in a full cheek!

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 15, 2011, 11:03 AM
I won't use a standing -- I have now witnessed two nasty wrecks where the horse slipped and fell because the standing martingale prevented him from getting his head up to balance himself. Riders suffered smooshing and head slamming. With the running, I can (and have) let go of the reins and he can balance however he needs to. I don't use it once they are more trained, but for the young'un, it's just a reminder of where he really doesn't need to go.

Those would be improperly fitted standings. A standing should be loose enough that the horse should still be able to get their heads up to balance themselves. Horses can a DO fall down...even with no standing or running. I've also seen and had horses react just as badly to a running martingale. At least a standing immediately releases when the horse does and doesn't act on the mouth...a running requires a rider to release...which doesn't always happen.

When I use a standing on a young horse, it is set so that it will only come into action if they are about to put their nose above their ears. It does NOT keep their head down but possibly protects me from getting my nose broken if they fling themselves around....which they are likely going to do no matter what I have on them.

I've been in fox hunt fields full of horses jumping in standings in rough country and around many many many horses in standing martingales and NEVER seen it an issue. In fact...some of the fox hunters will tell you the opposite, that their standing has helped their horse rebalance is some dicey situations.