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