how to use a german martingale?
Hey i am going to be riding a horse that has a german martingale and I was wondering if you had any advice of what to do differently then when you are riding a horse with normal reins?
May I ask why you are going to be riding in a German Martingale? The reason I ask is that they are a fairly -- I don't know if "severe" is the right word, but they are a training tool that you really do want to know what you're doing when you ride in one. I personally don't like GMs. I find they really force a horse's head into a false headset rather than encouraging the horse to round and carry its entire body in a frame. (Then again, I'm not a fan of many gadgets... yes, I have used many of them, including the GM, in the past.)
If you absolutely must use one, I highly suggest being taught how to use one in-person by a knowledgeable instructor that can teach you how to use one properly.
When riding a horse with it's face attached to it's chest by something that is mostly unbreakable a few things you have to watch out for are:
The horse rearing and flipping over backwards,
The horse not responding to rein pressure and taking off at a dead gallop, then falling and breaking a leg because it has no use of it's neck to balance,
The horse ending up with severe neck trauma from having it positioned incorrectly,
Anebel, it is good you brought those points up, because they are a reality when a horse has something new that restricts its neck movement.
Just the other weekend a fairly ignorant young rider put static (i.e. no elastic) vienna-style side reins on her horse. This horse has probably never been taught to accept rein pressure, and the rider is a very handsy rider. Anyways, she put these Vienna side reins on, got on her horse, and it flipped over and almost landed on her.
If a horse has never been lunged in a restrictive rein before, or hasn't been taught to accept rein pressure correctly, putting a restrictive device like side reins or a German Martingale on can make them freak out.
In my humble opinion, a horse should be taught to use itself properly, which will solve the problem that the martingale is trying to correct (ie. headset), rather than have a piece of equipment put on. There are much better, safer, more correct ways to achieve what the German Martingale tries to give you.
I really wasn't looking for criticism. The horse knows how to use one and it would be on the least severe one. this horse holds her head up really high and the martingale just helps her learn to lower it.
My honest-to-goodness best advice still stands: the horse needs to be taught to work through his hindquarter and round up through its entire back, rather than focus on forcing a headset alone. Once the horse is rounding up properly, the head will naturally fall into place.
My second-to-best advice is to get a knowledgeable person to teach you how to correctly use any type of martingale. Unfortunately this is one of those things that I feel irresponsible trying to give an accurate e-lesson on, it really is a hands-on lesson where you want direct feedback right then and there.
Best of luck!
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