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Running Martingale

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  • Running Martingale

    In pictures I've seen on this site the reins have "stoppers"on them, but in most racing pics they don't. Are the bit/rein set up different? And what is a good rule of thumb for adjusting running martngales?

  • #2
    The rings the reins go through on the bibs used on race horses that clip to the yoke are much bigger than on an average running attachment for an English bridle. Granted, the reins are much thicker as well, but they can slide up and down all the way to the bit rings. The only time I used rein stops, I had to thicken them with seal-tex to keep them from sliding through because I had one iron jawed guy that I could hold reasonably well in some weird long shanked western bit the trainer had. Since the reins were connected to the bottom of the shank, not like say, a 'D' at the mouth, there was nothing to keep the rings from getting hooked over the bit shank. Which they did, once, before I added more layers of seal tex. Thank heavens the horse had a short neck and a good disposition
    Originally posted by The Saddle
    Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

    Comment


    • #3
      The stoppers are there to keep the martingale rings from running up the reins and possibly catching on the bit or the buckle or whatever arrangement is attaching the rein to the bit. No fun if it snags. Don't see it so much at the track because they don't do small circles or take the head back to one side in training and its unlikely to be an issue.

      Most people who use it correctly will want the rings to come up to the bottom of the throat latch or a couple of inches below that point. Anything more then that is too tight and you can't steer- but you'll see it abused to create a "headset" that's nothing but false frame.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        I always used rein stops for a running martingale, back when I rode with one. You can throw a horse and get hurt if the sliding ring hangs up on a rein buckle or bridle hooks.

        We were always taught to set the ring height level with the withers. Not higher or lower. Any effect came into play when horse raised the head and rein then pulled downward to the rider hands. I have never used a running martingale on a Driving horse, too easy to get into trouble with a Carriage horse. I never did racing horses.

        Running martingale is SUPPOSED to be a training aid, not a permanent piece of equipment on that riding horse. If you need it to use the animal, he is not going correctly, and will revert to his bad posture once that martingale is removed. Since I have learned to ride and train better, I don't use running martingales anymore. It was a fashionable crutch at the time, didn't really TEACH the horse anything, since she reverted to the behaviour when it was removed. That put the running martingale into the "gimmick" department. Back to better training and rider skills, toss the martingale.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by goodhors View Post

          We were always taught to set the ring height level with the withers. Not higher or lower. Any effect came into play when horse raised the head and rein then pulled downward to the rider hands. I have never used a running martingale on a Driving horse, too easy to get into trouble with a Carriage horse. I never did racing horses.

          Running martingale is SUPPOSED to be a training aid, not a permanent piece of equipment on that riding horse. If you need it to use the animal, he is not going correctly, and will revert to his bad posture once that martingale is removed. Since I have learned to ride and train better, I don't use running martingales anymore. It was a fashionable crutch at the time, didn't really TEACH the horse anything, since she reverted to the behaviour when it was removed. That put the running martingale into the "gimmick" department. Back to better training and rider skills, toss the martingale.
          Oh yes, it's such a "gimmick". Obviously the reason so many upper level eventers and jumpers use them is because horses just aren't trained well enough and the riders just need to ride better

          As for height to adjust it to, from my limited experience it depends on the horse. If I put it level with the withers on my horse, I might as well not use it. Mine has it set so I can have contact with his mouth at normal head-height without a 'v' in the reins.
          .

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gestalt View Post
            In pictures I've seen on this site the reins have "stoppers"on them, but in most racing pics they don't. Are the bit/rein set up different? And what is a good rule of thumb for adjusting running martngales?
            Rules, for one thing.

            In Eventing, you will be eliminated if you ride in running martingale without stops on the reins.

            Presumably they do not have such rules in racing.
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Janet View Post
              Rules, for one thing.



              Presumably they do not have such rules in racing.
              I can honestly say I have never seen a horse run in a yoke and bib apron. A yoke yes, but only in point to points in flat races. Mostly for novice riders. I could be wrong, but I can't come up with a single example from the flat track. Sometimes horses running over fences will use an Irish martingale to keep reins from popping over when they unseat the rider. In a race, you really want the horse to be able to use their head.
              Originally posted by The Saddle
              Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rustbreeches View Post
                I can honestly say I have never seen a horse run in a yoke and bib apron. A yoke yes, but only in point to points in flat races. Mostly for novice riders. I could be wrong, but I can't come up with a single example from the flat track. Sometimes horses running over fences will use an Irish martingale to keep reins from popping over when they unseat the rider. In a race, you really want the horse to be able to use their head.
                I would bet that the OP is talking about race horses galloping in the morning.

                As you say, you will almost never see a Martingale on a horse in an actual race.... except for the Irish Martingale which is used on both flat horses and jumpers, but that's not really a true martingale.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
                  I would bet that the OP is talking about race horses galloping in the morning.

                  As you say, you will almost never see a Martingale on a horse in an actual race.... except for the Irish Martingale which is used on both flat horses and jumpers, but that's not really a true martingale.
                  Yes, thank you for the picture links. I had never noticed the Irish type before. Interesting. A woman I know that has been around and involved in hunters, jumpers, flat and harness racing said the running martingale is a tool she will always have in the training box.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                    Running martingale is SUPPOSED to be a training aid, not a permanent piece of equipment on that riding horse. If you need it to use the animal, he is not going correctly, and will revert to his bad posture once that martingale is removed. Since I have learned to ride and train better, I don't use running martingales anymore. It was a fashionable crutch at the time, didn't really TEACH the horse anything, since she reverted to the behaviour when it was removed. That put the running martingale into the "gimmick" department. Back to better training and rider skills, toss the martingale.
                    I believe they have their place as training tool. Some horses seem almost dangerous in their head carriage. The riders can have a bit more control and it would seem that once you can ride the horse forward consistently you can then begin working on contact.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In response to goodhors>
                      A martingale (in jumper type riding, not talking about western/wenglish riding) is NOT meant for any kind of headset/ "fake roundness" pose. It is used on course to not allow the head to raise above a certain level (A LOT higher than some one who wanted a headset) as well as to help keep the bit acting more correctly in the horse's mouth even with the head being higher.
                      It adds a little more control in the instances where the rider has to use more rein or the horse wants to be slightly unruly when you really need the horse listening on course. Doing a jumper course in competition sometimes means that the rider needs to use their reins a bit sharper or more strongly than just flat riding as sometimes we need to ride a forward line to a very quiet line and though we use out bodies as much as we can to encourage the horse to slow down, we DO use our reins.
                      You can see how high my horse's head is here yet the running is totally loose.


                      Here it's just about to be engaged (though is not actually engaging yet), if his head were to come up a few more inches it would start to come into play

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                        Running martingale is SUPPOSED to be a training aid, not a permanent piece of equipment on that riding horse. If you need it to use the animal, he is not going correctly, and will revert to his bad posture once that martingale is removed. Since I have learned to ride and train better, I don't use running martingales anymore. It was a fashionable crutch at the time, didn't really TEACH the horse anything, since she reverted to the behaviour when it was removed. That put the running martingale into the "gimmick" department. Back to better training and rider skills, toss the martingale.
                        I'm so happy for you.

                        For _me_, I use a (properly fitted) running martingale on my horse because he's fine 90% of the time, but for the 10% he's not (often because I've pissed him off, but sometimes because he's just having a day), it's the difference between "grab the bit and turbo-scoot around the ring" and "oh, damn - you've got me".

                        The other 90% of the time, it's not doing anything.

                        Oddly, lots of ULR use them too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've heard of a particular top rider in a clinic, recommend the use of martingales almost as a kind 'seatbelt', it's there if you really need it and does nothing if you don't. I can't remember which rider it was but it was one of the top British showjumpers.

                          To the OP, the only thing I can think of is the reins are sewn to the bit rather than having stud billets or buckle billets, so nothing bulky on the reins for the martingale rings to catch on.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I adjust mine to the level of the horse's hip... that's what I read in Practical Horseman, I think from the woman who bought the pinto pony sight unseen that she named Tucker.

                            I love love love runnings. My gelding currently goes in a standing, simply because his steering isn't 100% and I like to be able use an opening rein if needed. The Mare always uses one. As lovely as her forehead is, I don't like to see it while I'm riding.
                            Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                            Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                            VW sucks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Training, you were sent to the barn if you didn't have your running martingale on board with the proper stoppers.

                              A running martingale is like a seat belt, never doing anything but sitting there, except that one in a blue moon a horse, for whatever reason, having a silly moment, or the rider making a less than polite request with the reins, that horse decides to throw it's head around violently.

                              THAT one time, rare that it may be, that running martingale will, as a seat belt does, keep things, going South in a hurry, in a sensible range and, paired with adequate riding skills, save your bacon.

                              No, running martingales are not to do anything to help or hinder how a horse works when all is well, but they are one more way to help in a pinch.

                              Those that adjust them too tight either have other than standard goals/needs, or don't know any better.

                              Those that use running martingales without stoppers have a death wish.
                              I had one stopper come off and, against regulations, decide to go ahead and ride that OTTB colt and then get it replaced for my next, when I went back to the barn.
                              Would you know, that one colt decided to play when cantering, shook it's head low and caught one ring on the buckle in the reins by the D ring snaffle.

                              He immediately flipped over, fell sideways and I barely got out of the way, or would have been squashed like a bug.
                              Everyone else there was glad neither the horse or myself were hurt, but I tell you, not one of us will ever again take that kind of chance, we know what can happen, it is not only hearsay.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think we sometimes are going to err on the side of caution when offering advice on what to use and how to use it to unknown persons of unknown ability on unknown horses of unknown background. You can often cause more harm then good with improperly used equipment so I usually say if in doubt, don't. No way cyberspace evaluation substitutes for knowledgeable in person advice. Plus what advanced or elite level riders use does not always translate to the less accomplished

                                On the average horse standing relaxed, the hip, withers and a point from the throatlatch to about 2" below it are going to be in the same ballpark on most and once you gain experience using it, you'll know exactly where to adjust it on each horse so it's there when needed and out of the way when not.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Findeight, I agree. But I didn't ask because I'm going to use one with no trainer advice. I asked because I have seen pictures from show jumping, eventing and flat racing with different types of martingales. The question is merely for my education.

                                  Thanks to all that posted, especially with pictures. Most helpful.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've been riding for 32 years now, and I've only recently started using one... My normally-placid 9-y.o. OTTB is like an old cow-horse 99.9% of the time regardless of where we are (ring, trail, solo or in a group), but on a rare occasion, he gets an attack of the stupids when we're out in the fields on a crisp afternoon, head flies up, snort-scoot and BOOM, his mind is blown for a good 15 minutes.

                                    I have his RM pretty loose, at least to his withers; it only engages if he REALLY tosses his head in a near-rear situation. But it's been like magic-- head flies up, he hits the RM, and it's like a light switch gets flipped back off. "Crap, can't go there. OK, nevermind!" and it's back to business. Love love love!

                                    (Mine clips off a ring on his breastplate, so I usually remove it if we do ring work after a trail ride.)
                                    *friend of bar.ka

                                    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My current guy goes in one, as does my mother's horse (when I ride him). Both only use it when jumping or galloping. In both cases, the horses like to get strong and naturally have a high headed galloping position. With their head up like that, the bit can't act correctly in their mouths. Most of the time my reins are soft (even when the running martingale is creating a bit of a V in the reins) but when I need to use them, I'm not going to piss off my horse by pulling the big back against his teeth.

                                      Skippy's set a little longer as more of a safety net than anything else as he had the curb for most of the extra control: http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...60312-4105.jpg

                                      Pony's set tighter. It isn't engaged but you can see when it will be. He gets fussy and knows that head straight up in the air = absolutely no control. The martingale fixes that and stops the bit from sliding up as his head raises (his martingale was much looser in the brief span when he went in a gag as well): http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...ps198878b2.png
                                      "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Hawks Nest, great pictures! The first one shows clearly how long they are set, I also see that it is attached to the upper rein only (snaffle). Do you use the general length setting of withers or hip a has been suggested by other posters?

                                        Love the big smile, looks like you are having a fun ride.

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