Whoa... Lots of words. I think what I use is a breastplate, it has rings right on it where the reins go through. We also have a running martingale. We use them in the arena, I think it's just so we know how to put them on when we go on trail rides, and also just in case the horse canters. So in a one word answer, yes or no... By the looks of it, it's looking like it depends on your opinion, or leaning towards a good thing to have.
Well, all I can say to all of you that think the running martingale is "the answer" and can't ride on the flat let alone over fences without one is... you may have serious holes in your training.
You also have probably never shown equitation or hunter style classes. If you dared to enter a ring with that running martingale on your horse you would be excused from the ring, disqualified. They are illegal to my knowledge to use except in jumpers or cross-country style of riding....I have never seen a dressage horse shown in one either.
equitation and hunter style classes don't exist over here in the UK, but I've seen them on tv and been far from impressed at the standard of riding. I have however shown horses upto HOYS level for over 20 years. I've ridden competativly at medium level (3rd level) dressage and evented affiliated. I've also hunted, competed working hunter (affiliated and sucessfully).
Oh and you would be shoved down to the bottom of the line in a WH class if you had a standing martingale on here
I look at the pictures you all posted and I seevery nice horses, but I also see "contraptions" of dropped nosebands, flash nosebands, martingales, and both horses traveling behind the vertical with their noses. It is just something I am uncomfortable seeing and honestly, when I see people using running martingales these are the things I see commonly happening, why...I don't know, because that should not be happening either. Again, not things I am comfortable seeing nor did as these "nosebands" also would have you excused from the show ring as illegal...sorry....
where did I say I rode in them all the time? I was mid training a very difficult pony who's default reaction was to bolt at anything and I mean proper bolt, not take off I mean galloping head first into walls, through fencing and doing himself substantial injury whilst doing so. The first sign was his ears in my nose and his jaw crossed by which time my only option was to bail out as he would have killed me. So to retrain him I made it so that he couldnt cross his jaw and that I still had control when he put his ears up my nose, I was then able to have enough control to stop him running into things and thus the ability to ride it out and get him thinking.
He is now ridden only in a loose ring snaffle.
In reference to your "you can't jump big"... I've jumped 4' high 5' wide oxers on a friends horse with that standing martingale attached, that is pretty big, not huge but not tiny either...he had no problem or issue completing his course...he also shortly after no longer was ridden in a martingale as he didn't need one..that was proved when he jumped jump after jump without one later on and didn't toss or throw his head ever...I believe cross-country courses may have larger fences but I have not ridden cross-country to this degree of difficulty, and won't as I am uncomfortable riding my horse over such terrain
Its a reasonable size fence (well we jump 14hh ponies over that size in WH classes) but I'm assuming everything went well when you did it. If a horse loses a leg over a fence often your only chance of not having a rotational fall is giving the horse its head and praying it can get itself out of the mess. You can't give a horse its head in a standing martingale. Oh and believe me rotational falls hurt, often premanant damage or death. I've had one rotational fall where the horse landed on top of me and I crushed 2 discs in my lower spine, that horse could have done with having a martingale on.
You will NEVER see a standing martingale in international 3 day eventing. And if running martigales are good enough for the likes of william fox pit (6 time burghley winner, several time Badminton winner), mary king, pippa funnel, michael jung etc then they are good enough for me.
I might be going on hilly terrains, so I think I'd be better off just getting one.
Breastplates are really never a bad thing to have. Like everyone said they're just there to hold the saddle in place. They should never interfere with the horse's natural movement nor ever turn into "handicaps." Like I said myself, my mares always get ridden in breastplates just for those "what if" moments. I'd rather be safe than sorry.