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martingales in hunters

This is a discussion on martingales in hunters within the Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation forums, part of the English Riding category
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    02-24-2013, 10:46 PM
Originally Posted by blush    
I show in the adult 3'3 - 3'6 hunter classes and don't use a martingale. Robbie doesn't need one and I don't feel the need to use stuff I don't need just because it's the "look". Sooooo many riders in my classes use one even though their horse's don't need them thinking they will place higher because the martingale completes the look. However I usually place above those with martingales because the judges see that my horse looks easy and more uncomplicated to ride.

I find there is also an over-use of pelhams and more complicated bits in the hunters. What ever happened to the classic hunter D's? Haha
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I want to know why there is a sudden surge of kimberwicks where I live in hunter classes. I do see the occasional D-ring, but the mouthpiece is usually twisted...
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    02-25-2013, 12:41 PM
Interesting that some field hunts don't allow running martingales. Mine does - and I always felt they were better for jumping large obstacles so the horse has the freedom to use their head/neck to get out of trouble if need be. I never really worried about getting tangled bc it's leather which when caught will break so from a safety perspective, i'm not sure why they would be banned. Even more so - not sure why running martingales would be banned but standing martingales (which are in effect just tie-downs) are allowed. The latter is far more restricting of the horse's movement.

I suppose so much is based on tradition.

And thanks for pointing out some of the nuances in the rules - yeah I know you can use standings in some jumper classes but not most, but I didn't know that runnings were allowed in hunters, just not "traditional" lol!

Interesting stuff!
    02-25-2013, 12:56 PM
A standing that is adjusted properly should not cause a problem though. It shouldnt be tying your horses head down and should have no effect unless they are flipping their head strongly.
    02-25-2013, 10:52 PM
Green Broke
I've always thought the standing martingale thing as a fashion statement was worth an eye roll! I don't really get it and don't use one myself unless I'm afraid the horse I'm on is going to flip his head up and knock out my teeth... But there are many (MANY) who firmly believe that it's part of the look. And I've even been to judges clinics put on by very prestigious judges who have said that it completes the look and "breaks up" the neck or something. I didn't really get it but one did mention that he didn't think that many horses had an attractive enough neck that they could get by without one! Strange huh?

As far as it being "illegal"... not as many things are "illegal" as people think they are. But many many things can be penalized at a judge's discretion for being "unconventional". Standing martingales are accepted in over fences classes. All other martingales are not "illegal" but are considered unconventional, which might as well mean illegal.

Where are you guys seeing all these non-D ring bits? They are still huge over here! I'm not in Wellington/HITS right now but all the pics I'm seeing of people are still of them in their D rings! The eq ring? Still dominated by pelhams for sure... I don't really get that but that's just me! (feel more old fashioned by the day...)
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    02-25-2013, 11:06 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by CJ82Sky    
i was also wondering why most classes don't go over 3'3" - 3'6"? I know there are 4' hunter classes, but they are rare. Seeing as how the main focus used to be to show off your field hunter in the off-season, and seeing as how in the field we see jumps higher than 3' / 3'3" (up to 4" or more with drops/ditches/banks, etc.) why that doesn't translate to the ring classes. Although I also know that there's such a difference these days anyway. I do have to say i'm glad to see the hunter derbies bringing back more of the field-style in hunters :)
That is an interesting question. My guess... 1) there are a lack of riders. By the time someone is capable of doing the working hunters (4") a lot of people have moved on to jumpers. Many max out at 3" or 3"6. If you think about the majority of the people who are showing hunters/eq, they're pre-colllege kids. I don't think a lot of them get to show at 4" before they graduate and lose their parental funding! Or they're adults who don't have the guts/skills to go over 3" or maybe 3"6. Who's left? Trainers. Who are often busy prepping their student's 3"-3"6 horses, can't afford a working hunter, bringing along sale/green horses... I don't think I"ve been to a rated show where there wasn't a 4" class available (in fact, somewhere recently I even saw a 4"3 performance hunter). And I can't remember the last time I saw an amateur show in it....

2) Lack of horses. A competitive 3"6 hunter is RIDICULOUSLY expensive these days. Well into the 6 digits for something that can win on a national level. So a competitive working hunter? Wow. Not many can afford to own/lease one. A friend told me Rhumba (who won the Derby a few years ago with John French) sold to Steven Speilburg's daughter for $700,000. Now, I don't think that's typical... BUT, a regular working hunter who can win? Big bucks.
    02-27-2013, 02:07 AM
From my understanding the standing martingales were orginally designed to help a horse that may tend to raise his head too high to avoid contact with the bit. Running martingales are used to help maintain a constant even pressur with the horse's mouth for horses that may tend to be very strong or lean on your hands. A hunter is suppose to naturally be a quite mover that carries himself more on the bit which is why they arent allowed in hunter fields and you see the running martingales used on high intense horse sports like thoroughbred racing and eventing and some polo horses.

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