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Good argument for using a running martingale or.....

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  • Good argument for using a running martingale or.....

    Here's the situation. Horse is a retrain, years of incorrect riding, lama head with a dropped back led to incorrect muscle development, large underneck muscle and a tight back with hindlegs in the next county.

    Enter trainer, correctly says this horse needs to let go of that tight back and this won't happen until he learns to travel with his neck down and out. No manner of riding by trainer can induce horse to relax and drop down on a consistant basis.

    Running martingale is introduced and set so that a straight line from bit to hand only occurs when horses head is down and out.

    The horse responds well to this approach and can be ridden consistantly down and out. His topline changes for the better. The hollow spot above the shoulder blade fills in and the underneck muscle becomes less prominent.

    So, what do you say? A good thing or a a gadget that has no place in dressage?
    Uncle Fester

    "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

  • #2
    Use it as a training tool, and it can be a good thing, esp. in extreme re-trains like this one. Once you have gotten to the point where the horse can be ridden 'consistently down and out', it can go back on the hook in the tack room. On a horse like this, I like to do a lot of longe work with side reins and balancing side reins. Some of the tried-and-true things like a running martingale are great tools when adjusted correctly, used for the correct reason, and used for the correct (minimal) amount of time. Also, the rider must be remembering to ride the back half of the horse and not just be riding the front half, which can be very deceptive if these tools are used to set the head alone.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good thing, as long as the horse can be ridden without it now!

      That's what gadgets are for.
      http://community.webshots.com/user/CloverExpress08/

      Comment


      • #4
        When I was learning to become a trainer, all of us had running martingales, adjusted a little loser than you describe, as part of our required equipment.

        Having a running martingale while training is like a seat belt, something that doesn't do anything, unless you are in that one place where, where the horse has a silly moment you could not avoid or you are less than polite with your request, the horse objects by swinging it's head wildly.
        Then the martingale may give you a little more control and maybe save you from a hit on your face, if things get really out of hand for a moment.

        Does a running martingale affects how the horse goes?
        Not really, if it is adjusted correctly.
        How you ride is what teaches a horse to move right, the martingale is there only for those extreme head movements that sometimes happen while training, especially jumping, not so much on the flat.

        Good that your horse is coming along well for you.

        One little detail, that can't be repeated enough, is to ALWAYs have rein stoppers with a running martingale.
        If not, a ring may get hung on a buckle by the bit, the horse feel caught and flip on you.

        Comment


        • #5
          I used it for a few months, but adjusted very carefully. It was in neutral most of the time. If it's not adjusted correctly it can be more severe and cause the horse to brace. It really helped my mare. I should add that it was suggested my my trainer as something to try as a complement to the other things we were working on. It was not relied on as the solution, I of course still had to "ride the horse". I took it off once a week to test. It was only needed for a very short time.

          **NOTE I am VERY anti-gadgets as a rule and would never use draw reins.

          Comment


          • #6
            AWESOME question, as I just started using one with my tb a few weeks ago. I love the responses so far too. Makes me feel like I am "OK"!

            Comment


            • #7
              You fix a llama neck by riding the back UP. The fact that the neck and head come down are a side-effect, if you will, of riding the back up.

              I have never, ever, seen a horse with a raised/lifted back going around like a llama. They physically can't do it.

              If the trainer can't ride the horse's back up, you might want to find a new trainer, or in a severe retraining case, get some really good lunge work on him.

              Now to your question about the running martingale...

              I have no problem per se, with running martingales... but I've found that I've never needed one in dressage (and believe me, I've done a LOT or retraining llama necked ex-racers and other "remedial" horses).

              But here's the catch. If by putting the martingale on, the horse is encouraged to stretch his neck forward and down, and lift his back... great. I have no problem. But generally I don't see this happen. Generally I see a horse who "rounds" his neck... but that's it. His back is still dropped and tight. This is the essence of a false frame, and I see it all the time.

              So ride him in the martingale if you wish, but remember... its ALL about the BACK. If the back doesn't lift... you might as well go back to your llama neck.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by rileyt View Post
                But here's the catch. If by putting the martingale on, the horse is encouraged to stretch his neck forward and down, and lift his back... great. I have no problem. But generally I don't see this happen. Generally I see a horse who "rounds" his neck... but that's it. His back is still dropped and tight. This is the essence of a false frame, and I see it all the time.

                So ride him in the martingale if you wish, but remember... its ALL about the BACK. If the back doesn't lift... you might as well go back to your llama neck.
                I agree with you rileyt but I think its working well as his topline is filling out nicely. This wouldn't happen with a false frame would it? However what's giving me pause is that when I asked how long we are going to use the rm the trainer's reply was "How many years was the horse ridden incorrectly".

                Implying it should be used for a long time. I think I'll try weaning off it.
                Uncle Fester

                "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

                Comment


                • #9
                  Don't forget that upside down conformation and way of going is a resistence, sometimes to an ill fitting saddle, an otherwise sore bodied horse, bad hocks.stifles, SI can cause it over time, pain on the head/mouth, especially with 3 year olds and a rider with uneducated hands.

                  When you have ruled anything irritating a horse any time, especially while being ridden, then we assume it is a training resistence and good riding should correct that very fast.

                  Some OTTB's, not all, depending on how they were started and ridden, are known for trying to become giraffes when first asked to work slower and with light contact and come off their front end, no matter how light the hand.
                  Then is where longing for a FEW minutes, with very loose side reins, later adjusting them a little tighter, will start teach a horse without a rider involved.
                  Just don't forget to push the horse into the contact, not let it course along with their hindend not engaged.

                  A good trainer can turn such horses around in a few days, then it will take several months to change the horse's musculature and way of going by being ridden properly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Reschools are different.

                    The horse's muscles have "memory." You not only want to build up the correct muscles, but you have to allow the incorrect muscles to atrophy. In order to get them to atrophy, they have to not be used at all. The horse needs to relearn how to balance himself and the rider without using that muscle. He has to learn to move all over again.

                    If the horse has a hypertrophied under neck muscle, you may not be able to disengage that muscle without a lot of incorrect hand riding, that results in the horse disengaging at the withers in the downward direction, or breaking at the neck in a false frame or headset. So it is counterproductive.

                    In extreme cases with horses with big cow-like underneck muscles, I have used a chambon/degogue to help the horse to find a new way of balancing himself. A running martingale can performs somewhat the same function in a not so extreme case.

                    You cannot always "go by the book" when reschooling horses, but the goal is to get them to a place where you can go by the book as soon as possible without creating other problems.
                    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Uncle Fester View Post
                      I agree with you rileyt but I think its working well as his topline is filling out nicely. This wouldn't happen with a false frame would it? However what's giving me pause is that when I asked how long we are going to use the rm the trainer's reply was "How many years was the horse ridden incorrectly".

                      Implying it should be used for a long time. I think I'll try weaning off it.
                      If his back muscles are developing correctly, then he's using his back correctly -- so, its "helping".

                      But much like properly adjusted side reins, the martingale (as you're using it) is a crutch to help the rider position herself (and the horse) in a position that is makes it easiest for him to lift his back. Ultimately, you can't have the back lifted until you have the horse straight, and on the contact. A martingale helps a horse/rider who are having contact problems. So, once you've started to break the inversion chain, and have the horse building muscles in the right places, you should be able to take it off. It should be the case that simply because he spent 5 years inverted, that now you need to have him spend 5 years in a martingale. These devices (like side-reins) are helpful to get the chain broken for the "less-than-perfect" rider (most of us). A real pro should be able to get the same effect without the gadgets, because their aids and timing are so much more refined.

                      If he goes back to llama head when you take it off, its because you (the rider) are not capable of keeping him on the contact. (that's an issue of leg, seat, AND hands). That's not a sin, but its surely a riding issue you want to address.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Oh it's such a dirty term in dressage that when you retrain, you might have to supple the front end first to get to the back and rear end. Oh horrors of horrors!

                        Of course it's always fun to watch someone try to push the rear end of a horse at the dropped back and stiff front end... if you enjoying watching horses rear, buck and bolt.

                        This is the most tongue in cheek post I think I have ever made

                        Personally I have never met a horse whose back I could not lift without a running martingale but hey! he might be out there. So I say yes, use the martingale BUT you need to be aware that if the horses back is ONLY UP when the martingale is engaged, you are just creating another problem somewhere further up the line. The tool should be used AS NEEDED, when the horse is resistant, and then released. A reason I think I would actually prefer draw reins, as you can disengage them easier than you can a running martingale.
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        ---
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Running martingales are NOT to make the horse go any one way, but only there to PREVENT a horse from getting above the bit so bad, in a moment of fighting the bit, for whatever reason or no reason.

                          They, like a seat belt, can be there when needed, otherwise not doing anything and give you a little edge in gaining back control over a horse fighting his head badly.

                          As far as getting the horse to work properly over his back and using his hindend, not falling on it's front end, running martingales won't do flip for it.
                          If you have them adjusted so low as to try to keep the horse's head down with them thru your reins, you are forcing the horse to use those muscles under the neck you don't want it to use, to fight you and that too low martingale, CAUSING the horse to go above the bit.

                          Those all are sspecific concepts in horse training you need a good teacher to explain to you, as you try to train.

                          Ask your trainer and be sure it knows the concepts, is not flying blind there too, if it really thought a running martingale is to keep a horse's head down by force.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Uncle Fester View Post
                            His topline changes for the better. The hollow spot above the shoulder blade fills in and the underneck muscle becomes less prominent.

                            So, what do you say? A good thing or a a gadget that has no place in dressage?
                            I would be more worried about what the muscles on either side of his withers (under the front of the saddle) and those in front of the hip are doing. A horse can put muscle on the neck and shoulder and still be dropped in the back.

                            If the hollows on either side of the withers aren't filling in and the back isn't levelling out (presuming there is atrophy in the back muscles to begin with, as it sounds) then you aren't getting the result you want.

                            If they are filling in, then it sounds like things are headed in the right direction.

                            Sad but true... when a horse is really locked up, you have to do something to get the resistance muscles unlocked before you can strengthen the "good" muscles. I prefer to use longeing and in-hand work, as it takes the rider's weight out of the equation, but not everyone has that skill set to use.

                            Spectrum.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                              Sad but true... when a horse is really locked up, you have to do something to get the resistance muscles unlocked before you can strengthen the "good" muscles. I prefer to use longeing and in-hand work, as it takes the rider's weight out of the equation, but not everyone has that skill set to use.
                              Don't forget the mind; often if a horse is that seriously inverted, it is caused at least in part by riding that probably made the horse a little uncomfortable mentally. Un-doing that can take as much time (or more, depending on the horse) as the physical re-hab.

                              I had success with longing with sliding side-reins, but had to start s-l-o-w-l-y with one on the inside to give the idea of lateral bend, then one on the outside to give the idea of support, and finally both to get some correctness. Plus lots of time and fairness to get the mental stress calmed down, and ground work to get the body parts freed up and working independently.
                              "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                              Spay and neuter. Please.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'll be very honest and admit to using one. I'll probably get lectured and flammed, but...oh well.

                                Yes, I've use one for one of my horses. And yes, he has his teeth regularly done and saddle is fitted appropriately. My horse's idea of submission was "Huh, the bit? Oh, yeah, that. Screw off." I resorted to this based on my trainer's recommendation. It's adjusted so that it only effects the bit when he does his giraffe impersonation. It was never used as a 'tie down' or to pull his head down. He was simply given a limitation to how much he could put his head above the bit. Within three or four months it's become an extra piece of tack to clean.

                                I don't think it's that big of a deal as long as it's not adjusted to tie the horse's head down.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I prefer a standing martingale

                                  If I were concerned about a very high head I would use a standing martingale. I don't like the way a running martingale acts on the bars of the mouth and I think it causes you to lose your leading rein.

                                  But in fact my days of riding horses that do inappropriate things with their heads are over. I have decided that I am only going to ride schooled horses in nice weather as I hope to reach the century club with my current horse realizing that things can go wrong. . .
                                  A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lizathenag View Post
                                    If I were concerned about a very high head I would use a standing martingale. I don't like the way a running martingale acts on the bars of the mouth and I think it causes you to lose your leading rein.

                                    But in fact my days of riding horses that do inappropriate things with their heads are over. I have decided that I am only going to ride schooled horses in nice weather as I hope to reach the century club with my current horse realizing that things can go wrong. . .
                                    Adjusted right, you should have alll the range you need to use an open rein, really.

                                    I had never seen standing martingales used until I came to the USA.
                                    They were considered too dangerous if a horse were to stumble, because those DO restrict a horse's range of motion greatly.
                                    They were banned outright at shows.

                                    In the USA, seems that they were standard equipment for many hunters, so I guess not that dangerous, after all, or there would have been riders on the ground all over.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Running martingales must not be too horrible if you can warm up in USDF/USEF rated shows in them.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        And I have been told horses can lean on a standingM. A horse can't lean on the running M.
                                        If the "forks" are long enough, the opening rein works just fine. (I have seen some training forks that are really short, tho, usually used with western horses).

                                        the running M give immediate negative feedback when he throws his head up. The range allowed never changes, and if he weedles the rein out of the hand some, it does not give him more room to toss etc.

                                        My trainer uses one.

                                        L

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