07-24-2010, 06:25 AM
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Eliz, yes that method will pull the horse's head in, but the horse may very well develop incorrect undermuscling on the neck and also a very tight, tense back. Pulling the head in breaks the horse at the poll, and also allows it to dip and suck back at the wither. You need to be riding the horse's head and neck AWAY from you rather than towards you. The neck should get longer when you are starting out with putting them on the bit, not shorter.
Pulling the horse down using reins connected to the martingale will merely teach the horse to suck behind the vertical and as a result you will end up with a horse that braces the back of its neck and back, and will not accept a true contact. So when the time comes that your riding advances and you are able to start working on TRUE collection, you will have to re-train the horse to take the contact. This is a very very long process, you'll have to ride the horse above the vertical and force it into the bridle.
Long story short, it's much easier to start out doing it 'right' than fake it in the baby stages and then having to re-teach it all when you learn to ride more correctly.