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RE: Re-phrased Question re R-Martingale

Well, I have a little time on my hands so I'll bite. 

The correct use of a running martingale is to keep a snaffle bit properly
placed on the bars of the horses mouth so the bit will work as intended, on
the bars. When a horse raises his nose too high (or a rider raises his hands
too high) you will see that a snaffle bit shifts in the horses mouth and the
bit is simply pulling on the corners of the horses mouth, on it's lips. It
doesn't work too effectively for control when all it's doing is stretching
the mouth corners. Adjusted properly, the running martingale just hangs
there, doing nothing, until nose or hands go too high. The RM rings limit
how high the reins can go and it will keep the mouth piece of the snaffle
properly placed on the bars of the mouth so the bit will still put pressure
onto the bars as the rider takes contact on the reins. This is how it should
be used. It's there in case things go wrong, either on the horses part or on
your part (usually one follows the other).

This is a good tool for competitive type trail riding because you never know
when old Trigger who's a gem at home will suddenly bolt off with you, or
throw his head up and do a 180 spin. Or Trigger goes down the trail quietly
so you like to put both reins in one hand held well above that pesky high
pommel and that's really too high.  The RW equalizes all this out so the bit
sits right in the mouth. 

If you desire to change your horses way of going then good riding needs to
happen AND there are more appropriate tools that can help. If you want to
soften a really stiff horse thru the poll and neck then you could use a
German Martingale while improving your riding skills. If you have a horse
that carries it's head too low then the question must be asked, WHY? Is a RM
with a low adjustment being used on this horse? Is the horse over bending to
avoid rein contact? Is the horse heavy on the forehand, strung out behind or
butt high? 

You will see lots of people using a short RM to lower a horse's head
carriage. This isn't the correct use but just go to the warm-up arena at a
QTR horse show to see just how far you can drag a horse's head down. 

Are you having a debate with someone about the way a RM works and what it
should be used for?

Bonnie Snodgrass

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 12:11 PM
Subject: RC: Re-phrased Question re R-Martingale

Ray O.
   1) Is it correct to say that a Running Martingale is used generally to
cause the horse to lower the head? Or,to encourage a horse to "break" at
the poll and soften the neck muscles at the throat area?     2)Will a R-M
ever LIFT the head for a horse carrying his head too low,by encouraging
him to break at the poll?

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