If you are jumping, the standing martingale is there to prevent the horse from throwing its' head so high that you get konked in the nose. But it is adjusted really loose and almost never comes in to play, at all. A running martingale comes into play a lot more and works on the horse's mouth, pulling the reins down and makes the bit push a bit more downward on the bars of the mouth. I suppose it is ok as long as it's adjusted loosely.
\ETA as most of you know, I am not a jumper. I am only going from what I have seen or heard other folks say, about the use of a standing martingale in jumping. I have seen them used a lot. Pros use them from what I can see.
Running martingales are illegal in the show hunter ring, regardless of how common they are in the hunt field, the jumper ring or that they're prefered by eventers.
Standings are permitted in the jumper ring, though only occassionally seen; runnings are much more common.
Both types of martingale are common and accepted in field hunters, though the standing *might* be considered more traditional.
It helps if you recognize that logic doesn't have a lot to do with this.
I personally don't feel that there's anything unsafe about a standing martingale, particularly when jumping stadium type fences in cups. The eventer's argument is that it a horse becomes entangled in a solid fence, that the standing martingale somehow inhibits whatever heroic balancing gestures the horse would make to extricate itself. However, fox hunters jump formidable obstacles in unpredictable footing and uneven terrain, so you would think they would have the same bias, but they don't. Standings are common in the hunt field. Also, eventers also are not allowed to use standings in the stadium phase, which doesn't make sense, as the fences are in standards and cups, but there you go.
FWIW, standing martingales are somewhat of a fashion accessory in hunter ring, because someone somewhere once decided it "dressed up" the horse. A horse that *needs* a standing martingale (Its only purpose is to prevent the horse from raising its head above the effective range of the bit) probably isn't going to do well in a hunter class anyway.
Here's an example of a nice hunter wearing one as a fashion accessory:
I would like someone to explain to me how that martingale is interfering with the horse's jumping. Or this one -
Please don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of martingales. I don't currently own one. And I see way more used incorrectly than correctly. But they are a tool, like any other riding or training tool, that does have a legitimate use. The fact that they are frequently used non-legitimately doesn't change that.
But blanket statements like "It's dangerous to jump in a standing martingale." are overly broad generalizations made without a good understanding of facts and good practices.
... A running martingale comes into play a lot more and works on the horse's mouth, pulling the reins down and makes the bit push a bit more downward on the bars of the mouth..
I completely agree with you! Too many people think it's a mild gadget, but actually, the way the martingale is usually fitted, the pressure is always on the bars, there's no relief, very discouraging for a young horse. It's not good for the rider either, as you never have an honest feel with horse's mouth.
That is only true if the martingale is *very* badly adjusted.
My complaint about running martingales is that usually they're adjusted so loosely that they have absolutlely no effect what so ever and are just extra tack to clean.
A really obvious, compelling sign that a running martingale is adjusted too tightly is if it interferes with normal contact.
Also, there is *always* relief from the pressure on the bars of the horse's mouth; all the horse need do is lower their head.
If the horse doesn't understand pressure and release and doesn't understand that lowering the head will relieve the bit pressure, well, that's a whole 'nother set of training problems, and not something that a martingale, adjusted badly or well will help.
Most horses figure out pressure and release pretty quickly however it sometimes takes the rider a long time. I used to think that a running martingale was required to start young horses to keep them from learning to throw thier head up. Then I met some "enlightened" horsemen and really learned how much I didn't know about riding. I am proud to say I have been martingale free for 15 years. A martingale regardless of what kind is not a necessity. It is a crutch. If you think your horse needs a martingale then you should realize that YOU have some work to do on how you handle your hands.
On a ranch I worked on they gave me a big dun gelding to ride. The guy that had been riding him asked if I had a tiedown (standing martingale). I said no and he told me he would bring me one to use because that horse was dangerous without one. I told him if I wasn't cowboy enough to ride the horse without a tiedown I'd rather walk. When I got the horse and bridled him and rode off he threw his head about twice and when he realized that nothing was going to hurt him and I'd give him a chance to respond before I jerked his head off we got along great. About 5 rides later I rode him at a branding and the man that had been riding him was more than a little put out that the horse was broke at the poll and moving so much better than when he had him. The moral of this long story is that you don't HAVE to ride ANY horse in a martingale. What you HAVE to do is allow the horse some pre-signal and ride with a little feel. It doesn't matter if your jumping or doing dressage or just trail riding.
Maura, the biggest reason standing martingales are illegal in eventing is the possibility of a horse falling in a water jump. If they fall in deeper water, they could get into a situation where they can't raise their head above the water as it is being "tied" down. Drownings can occur. That is why runnings are OK. The reins can slide, allowing the horse to lift its head above the water.
Gypsy, you and I have had this discussion before. Running martingales are perfectly acceptable on the hunt field, just not show hunters. I have been a colored member od two hunts and have hunted with recognized hunts all over the country. Runnings are used in all of them.
There is no more traditional hunt than Old Dominion and Middleburg. Runnings are used there.