We went out to ride our horse today and our mare was acting like a basket case (she hasn't been ridden in a while). Actually all of the horses were feeling spring in the air and running and bucking, etc. Lily was antsy, jumpy and full-of-it! I was thinking that it may not be such a good idea to ride until we are able to get her focused and that today might be a good day to get some groundwork done. I especially didn't want my 7-year old daughter to ride. My MIL frowned on that and told me that she'll be fine if we use a running martingale (I've never used one and I'm not familiar with them). I wasn't convinced so we took her into the arena and lunged her - I just let her get the edge off and she got tired in about 15 minutes or so (SLIGHTLY out of shape!). I then decided that my daughter could ride if I was leading. That went well so I let my daughter ride her (at a walk only). My daughter had never used a running martingale and was uncomfortable and clumsy with it so we stopped using it. Normally I would have her work with it and get used to it, but I wanted her to be comfortable beings that Lily was such a basket case when we started. I wanted my daughter to be able to one-rein stop with ease in an emergency situation and I figured that if she's fumbling with the martingale at a walk she may not be able to stop in an emergency. MIL said that the martingale would make it easier to stop and that we should not have stopped using it.
Now I'm confused. Is this a something that you need to learn to use or should it automatically make it easier to control your horse?