Martingale fitting - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 04-23-2009, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Martingale fitting

Me friend has started using a running martingale on her horse to lower her head and make her go round, and i tried mine on Sheena but i wasnt sure if it fit right so i was hoping someone could like post a pic of a well-fitted running martingale on a horse, or just tell me how to fit it...

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VanillaBean is offline  
post #2 of 25 Old 04-23-2009, 05:38 PM
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The only way to actually get you horse round is to ride it properly from leg to hand. Any gadget is only a quick fix and makes for more issues down the road.

As far as gadgets go, a running martingale is one of the most harmless, and really only prevents the horse from flinging its head up. It's not going to magically make your horse round, you are still going to have to ride.
And also: don't just slap some piece of equipment on your horse because "your friend did". This is how accidents happen, if your horse is not used to the pressure and you aren't familiar with the action of the equipment then something is going to go wrong.
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post #3 of 25 Old 04-23-2009, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks for the pic, and i know im gonna have to still ride but it worked well on her horse and i would like to get more muscle in her neck.
And how else am i supposed to get her used to things besides trying them!?

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post #4 of 25 Old 04-23-2009, 11:06 PM
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I'm just going to be blunt here, that is totally stupid to try to use a running martingale to help with headset and to gain muscle in the neck! It shouldn't be that short on the straps to the reins either. It should only be used on a horse to keep it's head from flinging up and escaping the bit, and I really only think it should be used on cross country.

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post #5 of 25 Old 04-26-2009, 10:06 AM
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A running martingale is nothing to do with a horse's headset. It's real purpose is as a safety feature - if there is contact on the reins, it stops a horse flinging its head WAY up to evade the bit to the point where it may not be able to see where it is going or even smack the rider in the nose. That's why they're a common tool in XC and hunting, where horses often have overexcited moments. Fitted CORRECTLY, unless a horse does fling its head dangerously high, it should have no impact on the horse's way of going at all, and this is how it should be, therefore so long as it is fitted well, there's no harm in using one if you don't need it. Lots of riding schools will have them on their horses because if something does go very wrong with a novice jumper or something, and they yank on the reins, it's less punishing for the horse if the martingale redirects the pressure downwards instead of letting it get socked in the back teeth. Besides that the neck strap of the martingale can provide a safety grip for an unsteady rider.

If your friend is using one to make their horse go a certain way or 'build muscle', they're using it wrong, and I would hazard a guess that when she thinks her horse is going 'round', it really isn't.
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post #6 of 25 Old 04-27-2009, 08:33 AM
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You should not be using a martingale to encourage a proper headset. A martingale is a safety device, so your horse cannot accidentally throw its head way up and hit you in the face, or flip the reins over his head.

If you have a martingale tight enough to alter a horse's head set, then you are creating a "false frame" and will do more harm than good. The horse will end up relying on the martingale and will ALWAYS need it.

A proper frame comes from correct riding. If you're having troubles with it, then you need to get help from a better trainer. I would recommend using a Dressage trainer to improve your flat work. Basic Dressage work will improve any horse's way of going and rider communication, even western horses/riders.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-07-2009, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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What i ment was a western martingale (OOPS!) and it goes pretty tight so their head has to go down.
I used it once to refresh her memory of how to go round (Sounds stupid but i swear she sorta forgot!) and now i dont need it......Shes doing so well she looks like a champ!

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post #8 of 25 Old 06-07-2009, 10:49 AM
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Lookit -

You want what is best for your horse right? Least I hope you do. You aren't in this for your own personal gain - your horse is your best friend, your companion, your partner in crime - so you want to bring out the best in your horse 100% of the time.

You want your horse to gain through correct, persistant, continuous riding - the proper muscles needed to be truely collected, truely balanced, truely rounded.

When you throw on a gadget and use it incorrectly *the martingale is meant only for horses who throw their heads up high, to keep the riders face intact* you are now riding for YOU and not your horse. You are putting your needs first - and I'll tell you why....

When you throw on a gadget trying to use it for a training tool *which they are not* you are now teaching your horse incorrectly. You are allowing your horse to form incorrect muscles, you are allowing your horse to not become balanced, and you are allowing your horse to use the incorrect muscles to become a well rounded, balanced mount.

The only way you are going to have teach your best friend correctly - is to ride correctly.


Very wrong, 100%. Unfunctional, uneducated riding.

The correct answer is Dressage, Dressage, Dressage - riding BACK to FRONT NEVER front to back.

You want what is best for your horse - NOT YOU. You may think the Martingale taught a horse to be round and use the right muscles, but you are sadly mistaken 100%

I highly recommend you read these articles to educate yourself - because right now, you are way off track.

::: Sustainable Dressage - Collection & Its Evasions - True Collection - What It Is and How to Achieve It :::
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-07-2009, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by VanillaBean View Post
What i ment was a western martingale (OOPS!) and it goes pretty tight so their head has to go down.
I used it once to refresh her memory of how to go round (Sounds stupid but i swear she sorta forgot!) and now i dont need it......Shes doing so well she looks like a champ!
It "makes" their head go down because of pain, not because they want to be there.
As soon as you take if off, I guarantee you she will not stay there on her own.

A martingale WILL NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT make a horse round!!

Head down does NOT equal round!

Now, when a horse is working THROUGH themselves from back to front correctly, their head is in a frame - why? Because their body is working in harmony - the head comes LAST.
If you are forcing her head down, that's all you're doing, is FORCING her head down. You are NOT making her round, and you are NOT making her comfortable. Roundness creates comfort, forcing a horse's head down does the opposite.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-07-2009, 12:01 PM
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I agree with what has been said above. the only reason I ocassionally put a RM on is when my horse starts to fling her head up dangerously high (it has hit me in the face several times). I use it once or twice, then I put it away. Just a little memory refresher for her. But NOT as a training aid or to force her to put her head round.

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