Should I get a martingale? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 699
• Horses: 2
Should I get a martingale?

I have been thinking about getting Sonya a martingale, as she throws her head up when trotting, cantering, and stopping. I think she does this for balance, am I not correct? I want her to frame her head. If she happens to tuck her head in on her own, she responds so much better, and her gates are smoother as well!
Would a martingale be what she needs? Or something else? I don't know how else to get her to frame up.

She is only 4, and andonly been under saddle for a little over a year, so could she out grow this?

Here's a pic to show you what I mean. The reins are loose, and I always keep them loose, so I don't think its me that is pulling her head up. I have tried keeping the reins tight, but she just fligs her head up higher and fights me.

Sonya ~ 5 yr old Appaloosa/Welsh mare
ilovesonya is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 11:12 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
Posts: 6,634
• Horses: 2
A martingale is only helpful in preventing the back of her head from meeting your face. Take dressage lessons.
Posted via Mobile Device

Last edited by riccil0ve; 10-12-2010 at 11:14 PM.
riccil0ve is offline  
post #3 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 12:11 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 9,420
• Horses: 1
I understand that you want her to look right, but there is more to it than the neck carriage. A horse with its head down without collection is quite easy to see for many. The very basic idea is that your horse will power from behind rather than the front.

I ride with a martingale, but the only way to get the head down from that is to tighten it down so tight that the horse cannot lift up, this is NOT what you should be seeking. If I were you I would be seeking a natural head carriage that comes from collection, that way your horse will be powering from behind rather than dragging along from the front with its head down - which does nothing other than look 'similar' to the desired result.

I too think that you should take some (or some more) lessons.
AlexS is offline  
post #4 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 12:35 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 16,405
• Horses: 0

Train your horse to engage and balance.
Allison Finch is offline  
post #5 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 12:45 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,220
• Horses: 0
What your horse needs to learn is how to accept contact, round, and carry herself. A martingale simply keeps her from flinging her head straight up. So to answer your question, no, that's not the answer, it won't teach her a thing. She will not outgrow it, it's a training problem. Keeping your reins loose won't do a thing either. (Remember, it's not about keeping your reins "tight", it's about keeping a proper feel.) The reason she flings her head up is b/c she doesn't know how to accept contact with the bit or use her body.

The only way to correct it is proper training.
upnover is offline  
post #6 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 699
• Horses: 2
Ok, I will start looking for somewhere to take lessons. I took them for almost six years, but the coaches didnt really no anything beyond W/T/C and jump.

Should I get a coach just for myself, or would the both of us benefit more, since she doesn't know what she is doing either?
Posted via Mobile Device
ilovesonya is offline  
post #7 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 12:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,892
• Horses: 2
I would say for the both of you. She just needs to learn some balance and collection. A good dressage trainer would be able to help you with both. Her being so young, its best to teach her the right way instead of having her rely on more equiptment to get the job done.
corinowalk is offline  
post #8 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 12:56 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,037
• Horses: 2
Martingale can warp neck muscles

First let me say that you have a really nice seat on that horse, really, and your letting her run with her head up where she wants to put it is not so out of place for the time being. She is still very young, so contact is something that comes AFTER moving forward with good rythm and relaxation. A young horse needs to move freely at first, and your job is to stay balanced over her and let her find her own balance. Little by little, you will work with more contact such that she learns to accept and GIVE to the contact. However, most important is not losing the forward movement and not just dragging her down in front, as a Martingale can do. A lot of other folks said to take dressage lessons and focus on getting her to work from behind into soft contact. Both can be developed at the same time; working her into contact (and you will have to be more active in that, not just a passive passenger) AND encouraging her to move briskly forward from pushing hind legs.

The thing about Martingales, especially for ayoung horse, is that if they fight them and learn to brace against the incessant resisitance they will build muscles in all the wrong places on their necks. Once this habit is formed, it's hard to undo. I know Martingales are used for jumping but I think that is for a different purpose and are more a safety issue, no?
(obviously, I am not a jumping person)
tinyliny is offline  
post #9 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 699
• Horses: 2
Thank you all!

Now, how do I make her reach more with her back end? Should I adjust my seat at all? squeeze more with my legs? Anything I can do until I find a trainer, or should I just wait, just to make sure I am doing it correctly?
Posted via Mobile Device

Last edited by ilovesonya; 10-13-2010 at 01:16 AM.
ilovesonya is offline  
post #10 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 9,420
• Horses: 1
Hey thanks for listening, it is fairly rare that someone does not get all bent out of shape when they hear what they don't want to.

My opinion, and I might be wrong, is to keep doing what you are doing until you find a trainer/coach/instructor. Advise here is not the same as someone telling you something when you do it in that moment. You are not harming your horse, you are just not helping it - so I would say get a trainer and as soon as you can, because you are teaching it to be ok with what it is doing, but that is easily correctable.
AlexS is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Martingale, good or bad? Ray MacDonald Horse Tack and Equipment 3 01-31-2010 09:15 AM
Is this like a martingale? BoarderCowgirl12 Horse Tack and Equipment 20 01-03-2010 01:44 PM
picking a martingale hiwaythreetwenty Horse Tack and Equipment 2 10-09-2009 04:55 PM
thoughts on martingale hiwaythreetwenty Horse Tack and Equipment 11 10-07-2009 10:45 PM
Martingale--am i doing this right? equiniphile Horse Tack and Equipment 17 08-17-2009 11:54 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome