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Standing martingales

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  • Standing martingales

    Why are standing martingales considered "traditional" for hunting (over the running)? I thought I read somewhere that they were less-likely to get caught on branches than the 2 running forks, but since the running gives more freedom I would think it would be preferable when riding and jumping across hazardous terrain.

  • #2
    The original purpose of a standing martingale is functional, not traditional.

    Its original function is to prevent a broken nose when out hunting and jumping solid jumps on high incline hill land.

    They are to be adjusted so that they don't interfere with the horse's head when its carried acceptably and certainly NOT to tie him down at all and definitely NOT to prevent him jumping or spreading a fence effectively.

    The standing martinggale can only be used with a cavesson noseband NEVER to a drop and the strap from the girth to the cavesson is supported by a neckstrap as in the running martinggale.

    Its purpose is to stop the horse getting his head above the usual angle of control and particularly when jumping 'solids' on high hill land. So most commonly they're in use when hunting on high hill land when the horse needs to be able to gallop and move freely and to jump when necessary and the unanticipated obstacle comes up, but you don't want a smack in the head when you jump a dry stone wall with a huge incline.

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    • #3
      I've always wondered as well, considering that I was taught that it is unsafe to jump in a standing.

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      • #4
        It was never intended for flat work - and I mean flat as in not hilly.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by eqsiu View Post
          I've always wondered as well, considering that I was taught that it is unsafe to jump in a standing.


          I find that odd that you were taught that... Hunter shows do NOT allow martingales in flat classes, only over fences.

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          • #6
            My choice of martingale would depend on the horse I was riding. However for the first time out I always choose the standing martingale.

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            • #7
              the nice thing about a standing martingale is that it doesn't act on the bars.
              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

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              • #8
                I know the standing martingale is more traditional in hunting but I would never use one. There is a reason they are banned in eventing. If/when I've used a martingale in the hunt field it has always been a running martingale.

                Just my opinion. Humble as always.

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                • #9
                  I use no martingale for eventing but use a standing for hunting. There are just too many reasons a horse wants to throw his head around in the hunt field.

                  My main reason for using standing over running is that with a running martingale you can't throw the reins over a horse's head. I can't count the number of times I have had to pony a horse due to people needing to open gates or rider injuries. Or sometimes the huntsman has to get off and go into the covert. Then someone has to lead his/her horse along. A running martingale makes a nuisance of this.

                  If the martingale is adjusted correctly it won't interfere with the horse's ability to maintain his balance in a tricky situation. However they are banned in eventing for this reason. Too hard to control the proper adjustment, easier to just ban them altogether.
                  -Painted Wings

                  Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Painted Wings View Post
                    If the martingale is adjusted correctly it won't interfere with the horse's ability to maintain his balance in a tricky situation. However they are banned in eventing for this reason. Too hard to control the proper adjustment, easier to just ban them altogether.
                    Hmmm, good point, one does often see them too tight or too loose. I've only ever used standing for hunting myself, when needed, happily most of my horses over the years just haven't needed a martingale for hunting. Never had a problem, even when I forgot I was on the one-eyed TB and forgot til takeoff time over a stiff post and rail that I had presented him from his blind side- I slipped the reins as his back end was parallel to the ground but he did get all four feet successfully back on the ground (though he was rightfully pretty miffed at me!). That was a pretty fair test of whether a standing martingale interfered with balance!

                    I have rarely ever used a running martingale, I just don't like the feel of a horse in one, seems like it tips them to the forehand excessively.

                    But, all of that said, the biggest thing to consider with martingales and other tack is, quit worrying about what is 'more traditional.' Focus instead on what you need to control your horse at all times so you and everyone else can enjoy the hunting.

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                    • #11
                      Beverley is so, so right! Concentrate on controlling your horse before all else so we can all have fun!!

                      One caveat to this discussion also....i think some breeds/conformations seem to do better with the different types of "gales"!! I learned the hardway out hunting that a running was better for my one bull necked puller half draft cross who'd toss his head to fuss with the bits I'd chosen. With standings; we broke at least 5 nose bands. Just pulled them apart! I tried all kinds of length adjustments and to prevent breaking them it had to be so loose it was useless so.....switched to runnings and voila! When he threw his head around it's against HIS mouth. It cut it back remarkably. I like the feel of runnings as my hands can be steadier. The pull comes from the same place and helps me stay balanced better with hands/arms that aren't being pulled up/down/right/ left etc. I think runnings also pull their noses down. They seem to curl, bend at the poll better. Dunno, JMHO!!

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                      • #12
                        My main reason for using standing over running is that with a running martingale you can't throw the reins over a horse's head. I can't count the number of times I have had to pony a horse due to people needing to open gates or rider injuries. Or sometimes the huntsman has to get off and go into the covert. Then someone has to lead his/her horse along. A running martingale makes a nuisance of this.

                        but the running attachment that clips to the breastplate vs a running martingale that stands alone would solve this problem. Also, you can change the clip on types to a standing if needed for a different reason. Just a thought.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                          I find that odd that you were taught that... Hunter shows do NOT allow martingales in flat classes, only over fences.
                          Pony club.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Painted Wings View Post

                            If the martingale is adjusted correctly it won't interfere with the horse's ability to maintain his balance in a tricky situation. However they are banned in eventing for this reason. Too hard to control the proper adjustment, easier to just ban them altogether.
                            That is NOT why they are banned in eventing. They are banned because we have water obstacles where a horse can fall on their sides. If a standing martingale is on it, he might not be able to lift his head above the water and might well drown. I will never use one in the hunt field for that very reason. A horse falling while making a water crossing? NEVER!!!

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                            • #15
                              Use the snap on and unsnap when crossing deep water.

                              Most water we cross is pretty shallow and most hunt crossings are on sound bottoms.

                              I doubt that a horse with his leg through a running martingale would get his head out of the water any better than a horse with his leg through a standing. The rein will only slip so far through the running.

                              In fact a lot of experienced foxhunters believe a horse is more apt to get tangled in a running.

                              It is correct that some riders purposely adjust a standing too short to make a horse jump closer to the fence. Tie his head down and he can not stand back 10' from a 3'6" fence.

                              My own opinion is that there is one way only to adjust a standing and that is the right way.

                              If the horse is jumping too big, there are better ways to work on that.

                              That said, I have always liked a horse that jumps like a timber horse unless he is trotted at the fence.

                              As long as the fence is in the center of the arc, go to it.

                              To what hunt club do you belong?

                              CSSJR

                              Protect your privacy. Replace Google with IXQUICK at www.ixquick.com.


                              If we do not wish to lose our freedom, we must learn to tolerate our
                              neighbor's right to freedom even though he might express that freedom
                              in a manner we consider to be eccentric.
                              Last edited by cssutton; Dec. 31, 2009, 10:13 PM. Reason: Add the question

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                              • #16
                                Years ago I was a member with both Arapaho Hunt and Bijou Springs Hunt in Colorado. I received my colors at Bijou. I have capped with several hunts since moving to NC.

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                                • #17
                                  if I was taking my horse swimming I would not use a standing. In old school cavalry eventing days, I think they did have to swim through deep water and that is why they are still prohibited in eventing.

                                  However I do use a standing and I prefer them over running martingales. I don't think they are unsafe or dangerous for jumping considering 4ft working show hunters always wear them. I don't care for the feel I get with a running, they act a bit like draw reins. If its an old sensible horse I wouldn't mind, but on a hot young horse, tight reins can lead them to rear if they feel caught.

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                                  • #18
                                    I think there is a lot of confusion about the exact purpose of a standing martingale. I have heard many trainers claim they use it to maintain head set, which is NOT what it is intended to do. My friend has a horse that throws himself over jumps and digs both front legs into the ground on the other side. She now has him in a standing martingale to prevent him from doing this, if he tries to land plowing himself into the ground he will catch himself in the nose and in turn it will result in him teaching himself how to jump correctly.

                                    I hate when people put standing martingales on their horses and claim it is to "keep them in frame" it is not the purpose and should never be tight enough to effect the horses head on the flat or even when jumping correctly.
                                    I hear the same about running martingales too. People are misinformed and think it helps with controlling speed or head set. Its only use as well is to help with turning. That's it, getting around a sharp turn.

                                    I don't think anyone can say that one is safer than the other, they can both be dangerous and if your horse does not actually NEED a martingale, I don't see the point of putting one on. Just my opinion on that situation.

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                                    • #19
                                      If it is adjusted correctly, I don't see how a standing could improve this manner of jumping.

                                      I am not saying you are wrong. I am just wondering if your friend does not have it just a hole or two shorter than the correct adjustment.

                                      If the martingale is adjusted so that when the horses head is in the natural position he will go to when alert, head raised to the alert position, martingale adjusted so that when you put your hand under the martingale and push it up to the point where his windpipe meets his jaw with no slack at all, the horse will have total freedom when he puts his head down and/or out.

                                      Notice I said alert, not the spook the devil is behind that trash can position.

                                      The reason for this is that the martingale is effectively longer when the head is down due to the fact that it is not wrapped around the chest.

                                      The lower the head goes, the more slack.

                                      You can demonstrate this by adjusting the martingale as described above and then allowing the horse to graze.

                                      The martingale will go totally slack with a lot of loose strap.

                                      One good reason for using the donut.

                                      They did use standing on some of the cavalry horses but they also instructed the men to remove them when swimming the horse.

                                      There are some dead broke horses that don't need them, but when you are out hunting and your horse gets spooked by a pig or 5 or 6 porch dogs that charge him like they are going to eat him. that martingale will save your teeth.

                                      CSSJR

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                                      • #20
                                        and your nose!
                                        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

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