Originally Posted by SorrelHorse
I think we're talking about a standing martingale right?
A tiedown and standing martingale are capable of serving similar purposes but when the standing martingale is used, it should not be used to brace against. It should be used so the horse either a) can't hit you in the face over jumps, b) can't get their head over the point of control, and c) when hunting, it was my undrstanding it would help protect the horse in case of a fall.
I'm not hugely english experienced so someone is welcome to add as well, I only know the basic stuff from my brief endeavor.
When a tiedown is used in barrels it's intended to help the horse balance. The standing martingale shouldn't do that. So many of them are adjust incorrectly to be used similar to a tiedown.
A standing martingale would properly do the opposite of helping a horse in a fall as they need to be able to get their head right up to correct themselves - even when tripping badly and a standing martingale (similar to the tie down) if adjusted tightly enough to stop the horse from smacking you in the face would impede its ability to right itself
I personally don't like to see them in any sort of jumping as a horse often needs to be able to stretch its neck right out to get out of trouble over a big spread or if it takes off too soon
A correctly fitted running martingale allows for the rider to have some control over its action as it works off the reins so isnt so 'fixed'
They are pretty standard uniform in UK foxhunting and in eventing and more popular with showjumpers than a standing martingale.
Either way they should all be a safety net and not a training aid or a crutch