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Let's talk martingales...

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  • Let's talk martingales...

    I have done a few searches and read some of the pros and cons of the running and standing martingale. The standing seems to be preferred in some cases if it is one of the detachable ones....but I was wondering if I could get some additional feedback as to which is better in the hunt field? Or does it really just depend on the situation and preference?


  • #2
    None is preferable... If you have to use one then it depends on the problems you are trying to correct. Head flinging? Standing can keep you from getting knocked in the face. Horse gets above the bit and on the forehand? Running might be better as they can learn to lean on a standing martingale.
    Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
    Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
    Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


    • #3
      I'll agree it depends on the horse and the problem. One of my hunt horses went in a running for years. The next one comes along and he is in a standing. I will say that a lot of the standings I see are way too tight.
      A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


      • #4
        A standing is dangerous in "hairy terrain" where a running gives you the freedom to release the horses head so they can balance if needed
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • #5
          A loosely adjusted standing is often good for the rider who needs a "holy sh*t" handle without the stigma of the strirrup leather on the neck. A running is often helpful for those moments when they are exceding their legal limits for fun and get leaning or above the bit. That said they are a bad idea with a horse who needs an elevator or a gag. Those bits are designed to get the head up and a martigale, especially a running can negate the action. Also a running is harder to manage if you have to dismount and lead a horse unless its on a breastplate which can be unhooked so you can take the reins over the head.


          • #6
            If your horse can go without a martingale then go without one. I hate extra equipment on a horse. Others have shared reasons for selecting the different styles.

            And now I want to share a near train wreck I had a at a stand still while hunting a few weeks back.

            I've been riding 40+ years- I'm not a pro, just an average amateur who's riding foundation was started in Pony Club who pays great attention to the little things. I was hunting my mare in a full cheek snaffle WITH properly fitted bit keepers in place. The standing martingale is fitted correctly- not too long, not too tight. We were at a check in some woods and she was standing nicely as she always does. The huntsman remounted and was preparing to move out and I turned my mare's head to the right to get it straight- she was looking over and back to her left. She gave to the right rein then her head bounced back to the left. I pulled again, same thing happened so I looked down. My standing martingale strap had become wrapped over the upper bar of the full cheek- in effect trapping her head. Holy train wreck waiting to happen batman!! Got it unwrapped and thought "damn, that has never happened to me, weird."

            Next day I'm trail riding with some friends and again, we were stopped because my buddies were sidepassing over some logs. Same thing happened again- at a stand still, the martingale strap looped over the upper bar of the full cheek and trapped her head. I undid the strap for the rest of the ride and when I got home I swapped out bits.

            Best I can figure is that loop on the martingale strap that the nose band passes through has become stretched out and it allows it to slide over easily. These were warm days and my mare had swung her head around to get at flies.

            Anyway, on a lesser horse, a more easily panicked horse this could have escalated into a horse running backwards and sideways with it's body bent around. My recommendation is not to use a full cheek bit with a standing martingale in the hunt field. And if you use a running martingale ALWAYS use the rein stops.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for all the advice! I just need it more for the occasional head toss as opposed to a horse evading the bit, so figured standing was what I should do! Always great to hear various experiences and input though! I am also partial to a standing in this instance as I did get my nose broken from a head tosser in college!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                A standing is dangerous in "hairy terrain" where a running gives you the freedom to release the horses head so they can balance if needed

                If a standing is adjusted properly, it is impossible for a horse to lean on it.

                If adjusted properly, the lower the head, the looser the martingale.

                A horse does not balance by raising his head. He reaches out and down.


                • #9
                  I only have two hypothetical situations in which a martingale would be appropriate, according to my own opinion:
                  Running: you have a horse that throws its head in the air, and in doing so throws a rein across its neck, and you might end up with two reins on one side of the horse's neck. More than 30 years ago, we had an Arab mare who did this. Her trainer had her in the running martingale for the first month, until she got calm and confident and no longer threw her head. It might also be usable in the interim while retraining a horse, if the horse threw its head.
                  Standing: Old, confirmed head thrower, to keep your nose from being broken. Some old habits, on older 'ruined' horses, might get a lot better but never really go away. So if you aren't Ray Hunt, you can adjust a standing martingale so it doesn't interfere with the horse unless the horse really throws his head.
                  But for most young horses, there shouldn't be any need for a martingale unless the trainer/rider doesn't really know how to get a horse consistent and reliable without using one. And I wouldn't want somebody training my horse, who needed a martingale in other than the above situations.