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MyBoyPuck 10-11-2010 11:29 PM

Okay, NOW I'm confused.
I went the WEG last week. A few times I took a break from walking around and sat near the schooling/warmup rings to watch the riders prepare for their upcoming competitions. I'm not sure if I was watching jumpers or eventers, but in all cases, the horses had martingales on that were so tight, the horse's couldn't even get their heads to the vertical, no less in front of it or be able to stretch out. In one case, I watched one rider jump her horse over what looked to be at least a 4' vertical several times with the head tied down. Each time the horse bucked after the fence in protest. She finally took it off, and the horse proceeded to throw his head around. I heard a woman next to me remark, "that's why he's in a martingale", but it just makes no sense to me. These are the best of the best in the jumping world. What is the logic to this? I'd post pics, but since they're not my horses, so I doubt that's appropriate.

ponyboy 10-12-2010 05:47 PM

Quick fixes to training problems and bad riding are in fashion these days. That's really all there is to it. But I think these things go in cycles, so someday we'll see good riding again.

MissPhoebe 10-12-2010 09:14 PM

I have noticed how "fashionable" martingales are right now, and to be honest it really bothers me. At the open shows I go to they are not allowed, but at some of the hunter shows I have been to occasionally I think my mare is the only one without one.

Also, I sold my old horse, who I deemed the "HUS king" to a girl last summer, and although that gelding always carries himself long and low, she had a tight martingale on him in a video she sent me. WHAT?? WHY? I didn't say anything, but it was completely unnecessary and clearly the only function it had was the style.

Personally, I'm under the belief that the less contraptions on a horse than the prettier the picture and the better trained the horse. But, that's just my humble opinion.

haleylvsshammy 10-12-2010 11:19 PM

I agree with MissPhoebe. I've seen horses being ridden with martingales that I know don't need it. It really is a pity. Especially with how tight people are making them these days! Poor horses....

upnover 10-13-2010 01:06 AM

I'm confused.... what kind of martingale was it? and she took it off in the schooling ring? That's strange. Whether or not the horse should have had it on in the first place, I don't know why she would have put it on to school and hten taken it off mid-school. And a horse at that level should be absolutely used to the tack she put on him. That seems kind of odd to me. And I don't know why anyone jumping that height would want to restrict their horse's head/neck like that. Are you sure they weren't draw reins? I've seen some trainers warm up with draw reins and then take them off.... I don't know. Strange!

MyBoyPuck 10-13-2010 06:02 PM

Might have been draw reins. I just saw leather strap restricting neck. I'll try to post a pic that doesn't show the rider for clarification.

The rider that took them off mid schooling did so because the horse was pitching a fit after each 4' jump. After they removed them, he jumped the remaining fences with just a little head tossing. Hopefully they noticed the improvement.

Saskia 10-13-2010 06:31 PM

I help out at Pony Club and I notice so many of the kids use running martingales.

Its beyond me because most of the horses don't need it, and about 90% of the martingales are not working. Most of them are too long and do not affect the horse at all. Additionally, as they have rings through the reins, the martingale only comes into affect if there is a firm contact, yet most of their hands are not stable enough to hold a contact against the mouth and the rings, which just results in a sort of "V" with the bit at one end, the rings pulling down in the middle, and the rider at the other end - all the time the horse ignoring whatever the rider is doing.

I told some of the kids to take them off - most of them were adjusted too long and had no effect at all but they refused to. They said they couldn't control their horse without it or something. On the same token, many of them refuse to ride without crops too.

It makes me wonder what kids are taught these days? They don't use their legs, don't use their hands properly... I mean I am not a brilliant rider or anything but its plain to see.

upnover 10-14-2010 11:50 PM

Please post a pic if you can, I'm curious! I see lots of draw reins in the schooling ring. I personally find jumping with them a bit terrifying (esp at 4 ft!) but I know people who think it's a great way to teach the horse to use their body better over the fence. The theory is this... a horse does 2 main things to get over the jump. 1) lift up their legs and 2) round and lift their body. Lots of horses do one or the other but the best horses do both. The draw reins restrict the horse from properly using their head/neck which forces them to put an extra effort in lifting their legs. Then they take the take the draw reins off and hopefully the horse will use both legs and body. Personally, I'd rather do lots of gymnastics at home to teach a horse to use their body when they get to shows, but that's just me. But you can't build a gymnastic in the schooling ring soo.... to each their own I guess.

wild_spot 10-15-2010 03:44 AM


Its beyond me because most of the horses don't need it, and about 90% of the martingales are not working. Most of them are too long and do not affect the horse at all.

A running martingale shouldn't affect the horse unless it's head is about to hit the rider in the face - Otherwise it is too tight.

I put my Arab in a martingale when other people ride him as when he gets excited he can do the Arab head flip - it is super loose and he doesn't even try when he has it on, so it probably looks like it does nothing - but it saves less experienced people from getting smacked in the face.

A loose running martingale harms no one and can make a horse safer - I don't understand why you would want it taken off?

corporate pride 10-15-2010 04:37 AM

i have rings on my young horse but only because he travels like a lama! lol i out them on and he goes "oh nose needs to be down" i don't normally like them as they interfere with the one rein stop. i use that to control in cases when the horse has a hissy fit. but i've stop riding him until he's remouthed, i have no one rein stop anyways lol
my friend was going to sonya johnson clinic (silver medal at the olympics) for eventing and she ws told the she MUST have a martingale on her horse. her horse doesn't usually have one on anyways....i though it was strange

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