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RE: Running Martingales

>An option to the martingale is to go with a mild pelham (short shanks and mullen mouth) with double reins. The snaffle rein is normally used but if the horse does get away from you the curb can be used to reinforce the que.
>I rode the mare with this setup for years and have a young one that I can tell you right now will be ridden with double reins. The double reins are not difficult to deal with once you get a little practice and you do have a spare set of reins if a snap breaks.

I went to the pelham with Blaze when he started.  We would measure the success of our ride by how many "toad moments" he had!!  He was a challenge to get trained and the Pelham worked well to start (and this was after several months in the arena in a french link snaffle.)  I had learned to use two reins during my dressage years and was very comfortable doing it that way. 

After a short while, I put him in a Kimberwicke and he did great.  Shortly after that he reached the point where we could do all but the first 10-15 minutes of a ride in a bit and then we switched to a side pull (I prefer direct reining) and that worked well.  Not something I could've put on him initially -- but, after a couple of years, he progressed to milder and milder control and more response to seat, leg, and weight cues.  He's very sensitive and does not like bouncy, snatchy hands grabbing his mouth so getting him into a gentle bit (and still have some sort of emergency brake) was the best thing to do for him, considering his riders.  He is mostly ridden by students now and is very responsive to their aids...and especially to light, gentle hands -- so they have to have their basics down fairly solid before they can ride him in the hills.

Anyway, the pelham was the right bit to start him out in...a good transition from arena work to trail.  I couldn't expect other people to have to ride with double reins on him all of the time so I gradually, as his training and experience improved, worked towards good control with a mild bit or a sidepull (and all the body stuff, of course. <g>)  It took a while with him, but the effort was worth it.


"If all you can do is what you've always
done, then all you can be is what you are right now."
                              author unknown

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